Late-Stage Lyme Illness and Psychiatric Sickness: Last Verdict?


Lyme neuroborreliosis (LN), a late-stage manifestation of Lyme disease, is just not related to an elevated danger of creating critical psychiatric sickness, outcomes of a big, population-based research counsel.

However, the next share of sufferers with LN acquired anxiolytic, hypnotic, sedative, and/or antidepressant medicines throughout the first yr after LN analysis — though the degrees at which these medicines have been prescribed returned to the degrees prescribed to the comparability cohort after the primary yr.

The findings “counsel that almost all signs related to the analysis [of LN] subside inside a brief interval,” lead writer Malte M. Tetens, BMSc, a analysis assistant at Infektionsmedicinsk Afdeling, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark, informed Medscape Medical Information.

“Whereas highlighting dangers related to illness is indisputably vital, reassurance when ailments are usually not that deleterious is simply as vital; and, based mostly on our research, we should conclude that there isn’t a proof to counsel that sufferers with Lyme neuroborreliosis are at elevated danger of psychiatric illness,” he stated.

The research was published online October 7 in JAMA Psychiatry.

Ongoing Concern

Tetens stated the research was “prompted by research suggesting that Lyme neuroborreliosis is likely to be the reason for psychiatric issues, and though these research have some flaws, sufferers identified with Lyme neuroborreliosis nonetheless fear in regards to the affiliation.”

No nationwide population-based cohort research incorporating long-term follow-up knowledge has investigated the potential affiliation between LN and the chance of creating psychiatric ailments.

Tetens stated his workforce “felt obliged to make use of a longtime cohort to review whether or not Lyme neuroborreliosis is related to psychiatric issues, as our research design supplies outcomes which can be extra dependable than beforehand revealed.”

To research the query, the researchers in contrast knowledge on Danish residents (n = 2897) who have been identified with LN (ie, they’d acquired a constructive consequence on the Borrelia burgdorferi intrathecal antibody take a look at) for the primary time between January 1, 1995, and December 31, 2015, with knowledge on an age- and sex-matched cohort (n = 16,460) of people who had not been identified with LN.

For each teams, the median age was 45.7 years (interquartile vary, 11.5 – 62.0 years); 56.8% have been male. The 2 teams didn’t differ with regard to the proportion of contributors whose Charlson comorbidity index rating was >1.

In evaluating the LN cohort to the non-LN cohort, the researchers discovered no improve within the total danger of creating psychiatric illness (hazard ratio, 1.1; 95% CI, 0.9 – 1.2).

Equally, in the course of the first yr, there have been no variations between the LN and the comparability cohorts with respect to subcategories of psychiatric illness, equivalent to psychoactive substance use, temper affective issues, nervousness, obsessive-compulsive issues, extreme stress reactions, or adjustment issues.

A sensitivity evaluation that excluded contributors not born in Denmark yielded the identical outcomes.

The researchers calculated the proportion of every group who had some sort of hospital contact in the course of the interval starting 10 years prior to review inclusion to fifteen years following research inclusion, and there was no distinction between the cohorts (10.9% vs 10.2%).

Nonetheless, there have been notable variations in the course of the first yr after research inclusion between the LN cohort and the comparability cohort with respect to prescriptions for psychotropic medicines.

Psycholeptic 16.5% vs 9.9%; distinction, 6.6% (5.2% – 8.0%)
Anxiolytic 7.2% vs 4.7%; distinction, 2.6% (1.6% – 3.5%)
Hypnotic and sedative 11.0% vs 5.3%; distinction, 5.7% (4.5% – 6.8%)
Antidepressant 11.4% vs 6.0%; distinction, 5.4% (4.3% – 6.6%)


There have been no variations in prescriptions between the 2 cohorts for any of those medicines after 1 yr.

“It is very important emphasize that many questions stay unanswered, [and] absence of proof is just not proof of absence,” Tetens commented.

“Additional, our research focuses on sufferers with Lyme neuroborreliosis and was not designed to judge the posttreatment Lyme illness syndrome,” he added.

Though the research can not “lastly conclude” whether or not neuropsychiatric sequelae happen in affiliation with LN, the research “means that it isn’t an awesome downside,” stated Tetens.

Nonetheless, he added, the short-term affective signs of LN warrant additional investigation to evaluate the affiliation between the illness and the receipt of prescribed psychiatric medicines.

A World of Distinction

Commenting on the research for Medscape Medical Information, Michael P. Koster, MD, director, Division of Pediatric Infectious Illnesses, and affiliate medical director, Division of Epidemiology and An infection Management, Rhode Island and Hasbro Youngsters’s Hospitals, Windfall, Rhode Island, described the research as a “very good country-wide, case-matched cohort research with an incredible registry powered to assist reply the query of lingering neuropsychiatric signs in sufferers who’ve been identified with neuroborreliosis.”

Koster, who can also be an affiliate professor of pediatrics on the Alpert Medical Faculty of Brown College in Windfall and was not concerned with the research, stated that the “postinfectious syndrome is a troublesome illness course of to handle, as it may be very nonspecific, exterior of the particular date of an infection, and may differ broadly between sufferers.”

He added that it “takes a caring doctor to know this syndrome and to assist the affected person overcome the postinfectious points, equivalent to ache from radiculopathy, sleep disturbances, arthralgias, depression, and psychological fogginess.”

Typically, “transdisciplinary care between an infectious illness knowledgeable, psychiatry, and presumably a ache specialist could make a world of distinction for a affected person struggling the results of a postinfectious course of,” he famous.

He emphasised {that a} “caring and compassionate demeanor from the treating doctor might imply the distinction between supportive care vs unwarranted and dangerous additional antibiotic remedy.”

Clinicians must be “be prepared to succeed in out to psychological well being suppliers of their space for assist within the remedy of sequelae from most of these infections,” stated Koster.

The research was sponsored by a grant from the Danish Council for Impartial Analysis. Tetens studies no related monetary relationships. Disclosures for the opposite authors are listed within the unique article. Koster studies no related monetary relationships.

JAMA Psychiatry. Revealed on-line October 7, 2020. Abstract

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