Incidence and Patterns of Extended-Course Antibiotic Therapy in Patients Evaluated for Lyme Disease

Yi Ju Tseng, Aurel Cami, Donald A. Goldmann, Alfred Demaria, Kenneth D. Mandl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background.Most patients with Lyme disease (LD) can be treated effectively with 2-4 weeks of antibiotics. The Infectious Disease Society of America guidelines do not currently recommend extended treatment even in patients with persistent symptoms. Methods.To estimate the incidence of extended use of antibiotics in patients evaluated for LD, we retrospectively analyzed claims from a nationwide US health insurance plan in 14 high-prevalence states over 2 periods: 2004-2006 and 2010-2012. Results.As measured by payer claims, the incidence of extended antibiotic therapy among patients evaluated for LD was higher in 2010-2012 (14.72 per 100 000 person-years; n = 684) than in 2004-2006 (9.94 per 100 000 person-years; n = 394) (P <. 001). Among these patients, 48.8% were treated with ≥2 antibiotics in 2010-2012 and 29.9% in 2004-2006 (P <. 001). In each study period, a distinct small group of providers (roughly 3%-4%) made the diagnosis in >20% of the patients who were evaluated for LD and prescribed extended antibiotic treatment. Conclusions.Insurance claims data suggest that the use of extended courses of antibiotics and multiple antibiotics in the treatment of LD has increased in recent years.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1536-1542
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number10
StatePublished - 15 Nov 2015


  • antibiotic use
  • inappropriate prescribing
  • insurance claim review
  • lyme disease


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