What is the prognosis of post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS)?

Updated: Apr 05, 2021
  • Author: John O Meyerhoff, MD; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Lingering symptoms, which may persist for more than 6 months, affect 10-20% of patients who receive recommended treatment for Lyme disease. [4] Common complaints include cognitive disturbances, fatigue, joint or muscle pain, headaches, hearing loss, vertigo, mood disturbances, paresthesias, and difficulty sleeping. This condition is often termed chronic Lyme disease, but is more appropriately called post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS).

No evidence suggests that prolonged antibiotic therapy is effective for PTLDS. Almost all patients recover with time, but recovery may take more than 6 months in some cases. [4]

In one study, many patients who had been diagnosed with Lyme disease 1-11 years previously reported increased symptoms, difficulties with typical daily activities, or both. However, the frequencies of these reports were similar to those in age-matched controls without Lyme disease. [24]

Another study found no difference in musculoskeletal abnormalities, neurologic abnormalities, or neurocognitive performance between control patients and Lyme disease patients examined a mean of 6 years after infection. However, patients with previous Lyme disease had more joint pain and memory impairment, and had poorer functional status due to pain. [25]

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