When Lyme Disease Doesn’t Go Away

[CanLyme Note: The term “post-treatment” is misleading because it implies effective treatment was given when in fact it was not, because it was too short in duration, dosage, or the wrong antibiotic or antibiotic combination for that person.]

iIt’s tick season. Here’s what Brian Fallon, the director of Columbia’s Lyme & Tick-borne Diseases Research Center, has to say about combating chronic Lyme disease.

By
Carla Cantor
April 29, 2019

“Brian A. Fallon, (VP&S ’85, MPH ’85) spent his early career working with patients whose medical symptoms were a mystery. The Columbia University Irving Medical Center psychiatrist became one of the foremost researchers of hypochondria and somatic disorders, or psychological illness that manifests as physical symptoms.

He might have stayed with that specialty had he not begun in the early 1990s to see a surge in referrals of patients with chronic, unexplained symptoms who had all been healthy—until they got Lyme disease. These patients suffered from chronic pain, fatigue and cognitive problems that had a debilitating effect on their lives. They all had been treated with antibiotics with partial response but then relapsed. Since such persistent infection was considered impossible, they were told they were hypochondriacs.”

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