Lyme Disease Treatment Guidelines

Doctors discussing patient treatment

Clinical practice treatment guidelines are often used as reference by physicians for Lyme disease treatment and treatment of other tick-borne diseases. The LDA provides some links here for informational purposes only, as LDA does not make specific treatment recommendations. 

The only Lyme disease treatment guidelines that that were posted on the National Guidelines Clearinghouse (NGC), under the auspices of the US Department of Health & Human Services, are those adhering to newly revised National Academy of Medicine (NAM), formerly the Institute of Medicine (IOM), standards for guidelines: the International Lyme & Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) Lyme Guidelines, which address usefulness of antibiotic prophylaxis for tick bite, effectiveness of EM treatment, and antibiotics’ role in treatment of persistent Lyme disease symptoms. Note: Funding to support AHRQ’s NGC contract ended on July 16, 2018. View update here.

You can also checkout our handy infographic for treatment guidelines.

ILADS Guidelines for the Management of Lyme Disease

ILADS press release on the new guidelines

You can also review Chronic Lyme Disease: An Evidence-Based Definition by the ILADS Working Group 

Other Lyme treatment guidelines of note are those developed by one of the most recognized pioneers in Lyme treatment, Dr. Joseph Burrascano, now retired as a treating physician.

Link: Burrascano Diagnostic Hints & Guidelines* (16th edition, 10/2008)

Primary care physicians and other healthcare providers seeking continuing medical education (CME) credits for Lyme disease diagnosis and treatment can now approach the non-profit Partnership for Tick-Borne Diseases Education (PTDE) led by Elizabeth Maloney, MD, a physician with longstanding experience in speaking about tick-borne diseases, organizing Lyme disease conferences, and co-authoring treatment guidelines on Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.

Partnership for Tick-Borne Diseases Education, CME for Doctors

*In order to download this file, you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or greater. Please feel free to download the latest version for FREE. 

How CDC Surveillance Criteria Impact Lyme Treatment
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has a case definition for Lyme disease which is developed by the Council of State & Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE). This definition is meant to be used for surveillance purposes only, not for diagnosis. Surveillance is the collection, analysis and interpretation  of data for public health, e.g., comparing case numbers in different states: In 2015, PA is number one in Lyme case numbers, NJ is number two, etc. Below, is the current case definition used for surveillance.
Depending upon what state you live in, surveillance reporting of cases might be mandatory.  Some states require doctors to report cases that meet this surveillance criteria to the State, and some also require laboratories to report these Lyme cases or maybe only labs who do electronic reporting.
Doctors are not supposed to use the surveillance criteria to diagnose so Lyme treatment should not be based on surveillance criteria. Insurance companies should not base their payment on surveillance criteria.

DISCLAIMER: The LDA is not a medical organization. The LDA does not make specific recommendations for treatment. Whenever medical advice is needed, the services of a qualified medical provider should be sought. The guidelines on the web sites above are the products of the guidelines’ authors who are solely responsible for their content.