Lyme Disease Treatment Wars

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Controversy over the management of chronic Lyme disease has split the medical community in two. At the national level, one side is led by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA, based in Alexandria, Virginia), a professional association of specialist physicians and researchers whose guidelines for diagnosis and treatment have been adopted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This group maintains that the symptoms of Lyme are objective and concrete and that most cases may be cured with a limited course of antibiotics (typically about three weeks).

On the other side of the aisle is the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS, based in Bethesda, Maryland), an organization of scientists and health-care professionals who acknowledge the existence of chronic Lyme infection and who advocate for the prescription of long-term antibiotic therapy when appropriate. This group has issued its own diagnostic and treatment guidelines.

Now wading into the midst of the debate is Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who has launched an antitrust probe of IDSA, citing some members’ potential conflicts of interest that may have influenced the development of the organization’s guidelines. For detailed information on the two professional groups, visit idsociety.org and ilads.org; for more on the status of the investigation, go to ct.gov/ag.


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