Stay Safe While Taking Antibiotics for Lyme Disease

Taking Antibiotics for Lyme Disease

If you have been diagnosed with Lyme Disease or your doctor suspects you have been exposed to Lyme Disease but you don’t yet have a positive test result, your doctor may prescribe a course of antibiotics. This is a necessary treatment to kill the bacteria causing the disease.

If treated early and if you finish the full course of antibiotics, you have a good chance of a speedy and full recovery. Whether you are diagnosed early or later in the disease antibiotics will likely be used.

Any time you take antibiotics it is important to take them carefully and to deal with side effects that are common. Here is a list of questions that you can ask your doctor any time he prescribes an antibiotic and some discussion of how to take these important drugs.Pills

Questions you can ask your doctor include:

Why do I need antibiotics?
What are the side effects of this antibiotic?
Can I do anything to prevent the side effects?
How do I take the antibiotic?
Do I take it at a certain time of day?
Do I take it with food?
Will the antibiotic interfere with any other medicines?
Will anything happen if I take this with other medicines, certain foods, or alcohol?
Do I need to refrigerate antibiotics?
Are there any special storage instructions?

If you need to take antibiotics, always tell your doctor or pharmacist about other medicines or dietary supplements you are taking. Be sure to talk about any special diet you may be following, any food or drug allergies you may have, and any health problems you have. And make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant.

How do I take antibiotics?

When your doctor prescribes an antibiotic:

Take it exactly as directed. Always take the exact amount that the label says to take. If the label says to take the medicine at a certain time, follow these directions. Take it for as long as prescribed. You might feel better after you take it for a few days. But it is important to keep taking the antibiotic as directed. You need the full prescription to get rid of those bacteria that are a bit stronger and survive the first few days of treatment.

Bacteria that an antibiotic cannot kill (antibiotic-resistant bacteria) can develop if you (and many other people) take only part of an antibiotic prescription.

Antibiotics generally are safe. But it is important to watch for side effects. Common side effects include nausea, diarrhea, and stomach pain. In women, antibiotics can lead to vaginal yeast infections. In rare cases, antibiotics can cause a dangerous allergic reaction that requires emergency care.

If the antibiotic causes side effects that really bother you, ask your doctor if treatment can help you deal with the side effects. Some minor side effects are hard to avoid, but if they are more severe, discuss them with your doctor. Or ask your doctor if another antibiotic will work as well but not cause these effects.
– via eMedicineHealth

Probiotics for Antibiotic Side Effects

Antibiotics kill bacteria, all bacteria. This means as they move through your body they kill both the bad bacteria that is causing the Lyme Disease and the good bacteria that keep your gut healthy. When antibiotics kill off the good bacteria in your gut, you can develop stomach issues, including diarrhea. This makes recovery from the original illness more difficult because it weakens your body in an overall sense.

Probiotics can be taken to minimize this side effect. Doctors have encouraged patients to take probiotics with antibiotics (as well as after finishing the course of treatment) for a number of years now. Probiotics are safe and often effective. They replace the good bacteria that our body benefits from during digestion. Here is a discussion of the way probiotics work and what types are available.


To some, taking probiotics during a course of antibiotics might seem contraindicated. After all, won’t the antibiotics just kill all of the probiotics anyways?

First, keep in mind that probiotics don’t need to actually colonize the gut to be beneficial; even transient strains can have powerful therapeutic effects. There are quite a few randomized, placebo-controlled trials that have demonstrated the effectiveness of probiotic use during a course of antibiotics for reducing side effects and preventing gut infection…

For example, a study on 135 hospital patients taking antibiotics found that only 12% of the probiotic-receiving group developed antibiotic-associated diarrhea, compared with 34% of the placebo group. Additionally, while 17% of the placebo group developed diarrhea specifically from C. difficile, nobody in the probiotic group did.

One interesting study tracked changes in gut bacteria in three different groups of people receiving antibiotics, with one group receiving placebo, one group receiving probiotics beginning after the antibiotic treatment ended, and the third group receiving probiotics both during and after antibiotic use.

The group receiving placebo had significantly higher levels of facultative anaerobes (their chosen marker for gut dysbiosis) 20 days after finishing antibiotics compared with baseline, while the two groups receiving probiotics had no significant difference. But even though both of the probiotic groups ended up back at baseline levels, only the group taking probiotics during as well as after antibiotic treatment maintained stable levels of facultative anaerobes throughout the experiment. In the group receiving probiotics only after completion of antibiotic treatment, facultative anaerobes increased significantly during antibiotic treatment, and decreased only after beginning probiotic supplementation. This clearly demonstrates the importance of taking probiotics during antibiotic treatment, as well as after.

Most of these trials used different strains of Lactobacilli, Bifidobacteria, or Saccharomyces boulardii. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are two of the most common genera used as probiotics, so these supplements are readily available in most health food stores or vitamin shops. S. boulardii is actually a beneficial yeast rather than a bacteria, so it’s particularly useful during antibiotic treatment because the antibiotics can’t kill it. S. boulardii is also preferable under these circumstances because there’s no risk of it harboring genes for antibiotic resistance and later transferring those genes to pathogenic bacteria.

Another option for probiotics is a blend of soil-based organisms, such as Prescript Assist. I haven’t located any studies on their effectiveness in conjunction with antibiotics, but based on my clinical experience, I believe they’re a great choice.

As with anything else, the best probiotic to take will depend on a person’s particular circumstances (such as the antibiotic they’re on and the state of their digestive system), but the two supplements I recommend most often are S. boulardii and Prescript Assist. If you don’t do well on either of those supplements or just wish to add more variety, feel free to add in a supplement with strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Do your best to take any probiotic supplement as far away from your antibiotic dose as possible.
– via Chris Kresser

Have you ever taken probiotics while taking an antibiotic?