5 March 2019

In Neurology Anneleen Berende, Roy Kessels, Bart-Jan Kullberg and colleagues showed that longer-term antibiotic treatment did not lead to better cognitive performance compared to a 2-week regimen in patients with Lyme disease-attributed persistent symptoms.

Abstract

Objective
To investigate whether longer-term antibiotic treatment improves cognitive performance in patients with persistent symptoms attributed to Lyme borreliosis.

Methods
Data were collected during the Persistent Lyme Empiric Antibiotic Study Europe (PLEASE) trial, a randomized, placebo-controlled study. Study participants passed performance-validity testing (measure for detecting suboptimal effort) and had persistent symptoms attributed to Lyme borreliosis. All patients received a 2-week open-label regimen of intravenous ceftriaxone before the 12-week blinded oral regimen (doxycycline, clarithromycin/hydroxychloroquine, or placebo). Cognitive performance was assessed at baseline and after 14, 26, and 40 weeks with neuropsychological tests covering the cognitive domains of episodic memory, attention/working memory, verbal fluency, speed of information processing, and executive function.

Results
Baseline characteristics of patients enrolled (n = 239) were comparable in all treatment groups. After 14 weeks, performance on none of the cognitive domains differed significantly between the treatment arms (p = 0.49-0.82). At follow-up, no additional treatment effect (p = 0.35-0.98) or difference between groups (p = 0.37-0.93) was found at any time point. Patients performed significantly better in several cognitive domains at weeks 14, 26, and 40 compared to baseline, but this was not specific to a treatment group.

Conclusions
A 2-week treatment with ceftriaxone followed by a 12-week regimen of doxycycline or clarithromycin/hydroxychloroquine did not lead to better cognitive performance compared to a 2-week regimen of ceftriaxone in patients with Lyme disease-attributed persistent symptoms.

Publication

Effect of prolonged antibiotic treatment on cognition in patients with Lyme borreliosis.
Berende A, Ter Hofstede HJM, Vos FJ, Vogelaar ML, van Middendorp H, Evers AWM, Kessels RPC, Kullberg BJ.

Anneleen Berende and Bart-Jan Kullberg are members of theme Infectious diseases and global health.

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