Friday, June 17, 2011

There can be such a thing as chronic Lyme disease and it can be treatable with long-term antibiotics

By JENNIFER KEEFE, Friday, June 17, 2011:

typically, if people have Lyme disease for longer than the four week average associated with the disease, they're instead treated for other diseases such as fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome.

"There can be such a thing as chronic Lyme disease and it can be treatable with long-term antibiotics," Daniels said.

He said doctors would often avoid treatment with long-term antibiotics due to fear of being brought up on charges by the Medical Board simply because it wasn't recognized as the appropriate treatment for Lyme disease. Patients would therefore have a hard time finding doctors in New Hampshire to treat the disease and would often seek help in other states.

"We're trying to set in place an environment where doctors are free to treat with long-term antibiotics and the bill says they can't be punished solely because they prescribe or administer long-term antibiotics," Daniels said.

The bill's language regarding long-term treatment with antibiotics is only in reference to Lyme disease.

Daniels said such a move just makes sense, especially when long-term antibiotics are already used to treat for many other diseases such as acne, and cancers.

New Hampshire, he said, has the highest incidence of Lyme disease per capita in the country, a statistic that played a large role in his sponsorship of the bill. He had been asked to bring the issue out into the open by a friend who suffered from Lyme disease for five years before she was diagnosed.

Daniels said the hope is Lyme disease and the instance of chronic Lyme disease will be better publicized and better understood because of this legislation.

And the overwhelming number of members of the public who came to speak at a recent hearing on the bill, Daniels said, "at least dispelled the argument that there's no such thing as chronic Lyme." Read more>>

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