Short or longer term antibiotic treatment in Lyme disease?

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The treatment of persistent symptoms attributed to Lyme disease remains controversial. Recently, the PLEASE study did not demonstrate any additional clinical benefit of longer-term versus shorter-term antibiotic treatment. However, the economic impact of the antibiotic strategies has not been investigated” Berende et al (2018).

Abstract:

BACKGROUND: The treatment of persistent symptoms attributed to Lyme disease remains controversial. Recently, the PLEASE study did not demonstrate any additional clinical benefit of longer-term versus shorter-term antibiotic treatment. However, the economic impact of the antibiotic strategies has not been investigated.

METHODS: This prospective economic evaluation, adhering a societal perspective, was performed alongside the PLEASE study, a multicenter, placebo-controlled, double-blind 1:1:1 randomized clinical trial in which all patients received open-label intravenous ceftriaxone for two weeks before the 12-week randomized blinded oral antibiotic regimen (doxycycline, clarithromycin plus hydroxychloroquine, or placebo). Between 2010 and 2013, patients (n = 271) with borreliosis-attributed persistent symptoms were enrolled and followed for one year. Main outcomes were costs, quality-adjusted life years, and incremental net monetary benefit of longer-term versus shorter-term antibiotic therapy.

RESULTS: Mean quality-adjusted life years (95% CI) were not significantly different (p = 0.96): 0.82 (0.77-0.88) for ceftriaxone/doxycycline (n = 82), 0.81 (0.76-0.88) for ceftriaxone/clarithromycin-hydroxychloroquine (n = 93), and 0.81 (0.76-0.86) for ceftriaxone/placebo (n = 96). Total societal costs per patient (95% CI) were not significantly different either (p = 0.35): €11,995 (€8,823-€15,670) for ceftriaxone/doxycycline, €12,202 (€9,572-€15,253) for ceftriaxone/clarithromycin-hydroxychloroquine, and €15,249 (€11,294-€19,781) for ceftriaxone/placebo. Incremental net monetary benefit (95% CI) for ceftriaxone/doxycycline compared to ceftriaxone/placebo varied from €3,317 (-€2,199-€8,998) to €4,285 (-€6,085-€14,524) over the willingness-to-pay range, and that of ceftriaxone/clarithromycin-hydroxychloroquine compared to ceftriaxone/placebo from €3,098 (-€888-€7,172) to €3,710 (-€4,254-€11,651). For every willingness-to-pay threshold, the incremental net monetary benefits did not significantly differ from zero.

CONCLUSION: The longer-term treatments were similar with regard to costs, effectiveness and cost-effectiveness compared to shorter-term treatment in patients with borreliosis-attributed persistent symptoms after one year of follow-up. Given the results of this study, and taking into account the external costs associated with antibiotic resistance, the shorter-term treatment is the antibiotic regimen of first choice.



Reference:

Berende, A., Nieuwenhuis, L., Ter Hofstede, H.J.M., Vos, F.J., Vogelaar, M.L., Tromp, M., van Middendorp, H., Donders, A.R.T., Evers, A.W.M., Kullberg, B.J. and Adang, E.M.M. (2018) Cost-effectiveness of longer-term versus shorter-term provision of antibiotics in patients with persistent symptoms attributed to Lyme disease. PLoS One. 13(4), p.e0195260. eCollection 2018.

doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0195260.

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