Alternative Lyme Disease Doctors Are Still Wrong April 23, 2010 - 10:26 am
David WhelanBio | Email David Whelan is a staff writer at Forbes
The Infectious Diseases Society of America yesterday released the results of its year-long assessment of its 2006 Lyme disease treatment guidelines. The specialty society was forced, under very unusual circumstances, by Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, to hire an outside group of doctors to review its guidelines for possible inaccuracies, bias or conflicts of interest. The verdict: the guidelines, which advise Lyme patients to take short courses of oral antibiotics, are fine the way they are.
Activists and self-anointed Lyme doctors had complained that the IDSA's guidelines were keeping insurance companies from paying for costly long-term courses of infused antibiotics to treat patients suffering from so-called "chronic Lyme disease."
The IDSA, comprised of doctors with advanced training in the treatment of infectious diseases like Lyme, pointed out that such infusions can kill or seriously hurt patients while creating drug-resistant bacteria that threaten the rest of us. One example from the New England Journal of Medicine: a study of infused antibiotics was cut short after Lyme sufferers with persistent symptoms did not respond to a course of antibiotics any better than they did to a placebo. One patient getting antibiotics had a pulmonary embolism; another had gastrointestinal bleeding.
Blumenthal pandered to a vocal group of Connecticut activists, by taking the unprecedented step of "investigating" a group of doctors' treatment guidelines--and forcing the settlement. It was as if a prosecutor threatened to sue the American Academy of Pediatrics over its vaccine schedule to the cheers of Jenny McCarthy-led autism activists. Many IDSA doctor-members were disappointed that the group didn't stand up for science in the courtroom and instead agreed to the review.
Alternative Lyme groups that have and always will promote expensive, potentially dangerous courses of long-term antibiotics are predictably upset and--much like the vaccines = autism crowd after the latest debunking--in complete denial. (See here.)
Blumenthal, who is currently running a much-maligned campaign for U.S. Senate, put out a petulant press release saying his office would review the IDSA's review. (Yesterday's release had none of the flair of the one announcing the results of his investigation back in 2008.)
We wrote about doctors profiting from dubious Lyme treatments back in 2007.
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- So sad. I have never wished anyone get lyme so that they might better understand. But with this latest turn of events, I sure do wish they'd all have long nightmares where they could get a clue about this.
I'd wish the disease on those who don't get it but they would not be the only ones who would suffer - their family members would, too. But, really if my wishes could come true, lyme would not even exit. Oh, wait, that's what this guy is saying. Maybe he'd trade me places.
Who's paying David Whelan's salary? He obviously has not read the ILADS research or talked with patients who did better with proper treatment. Can we all visit his office? His boss?
Had he been one of my journalism students, his article would have received a failing grade for lack of research. -
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