Oral antibiotic treatment and long-term outcomes of Lyme facial nerve palsy

T. J. Kowalski, W. L. Berth, M. A. Mathiason, W. A. Agger

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: To study the long-term functional outcomes of patients with Lyme facial nerve palsy treated with oral antibiotics. Methods: We conducted a retrospective double-cohort study involving patients with Lyme facial nerve palsy treated with oral antibiotics matched to three controls with early localized Lyme disease. Chart review was completed and an SF-36 health questionnaire and standardized symptom questionnaire administered. Results: Lyme facial nerve palsy patients were treated with oral antibiotics for a median duration of 21 days (range 7-30 days). Only three patients underwent lumbar puncture and each demonstrated lymphocytic pleocytosis. Fourteen of 15 patients with Lyme facial nerve palsy completely regained nerve function. The long-term outcomes were similar between patients with Lyme facial nerve palsy and controls after a median follow-up duration of 4.6 years. Patients with Lyme facial nerve palsy had significantly higher reported rates of fatigue (60%) than controls (27%) (p = 0.019), but similar energy and vitality scores on the SF-36 questionnaire (55.0 vs. 58.4, p = 0.621). SF-36 social functioning domain scores were significantly lower in patients with Lyme facial nerve palsy (77.5) than in controls (88.6) (p = 0.044). There were no other significant differences noted between the two cohorts. Conclusions: For patients with Lyme facial nerve palsy in North America, treatment with oral doxycycline appears to be an effective therapeutic strategy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-245
Number of pages7
JournalInfection
Volume39
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2011

Keywords

  • Antibiotic treatment
  • Bell's palsy
  • Long-term outcomes
  • Lyme disease

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