Remaining complaints 1 year after treatment for acute Lyme neuroborreliosis; frequency, pattern and risk factors

Eur J Neurol. 2010 Jan;17(1):118-23. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-1331.2009.02756.x. Epub 2009 Jul 23.


Background and purpose: To chart remaining complaints 1 year after treatment for neuroborreliosis, and to identify risk factors for a non-favorable outcome.

Methods: We followed patients treated for neuroborreliosis prospectively, and assessed outcome by a composite clinical score. The impact on outcome of clinical, demographic and laboratory factors were analyzed by univariate analyses and logistic regression.

Results: Out of 85 patients 41 (48%) had remaining complaints; 14 had objective findings and 27 subjective symptoms. Remaining complaints were associated with pre-treatment symptom duration >or=6 weeks (OR = 4.062, P = 0.044), high pre-treatment cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) cell count (OR = 1.005, P = 0.001), and female gender (OR = 3.218, P = 0.025). Presence of CSF oligoclonal bands (OCBs) was not analyzed in the logistic regression model due to many missing observations, but was found to be more frequent both pre-treatment (P = 0.004) and after 12 months (P = 0.015) among patients with remaining complaints as compared to patients with complete recovery. Further evaluation showed that objective remaining findings, and not subjective symptoms, were associated with pre-treatment symptom duration >or=6 weeks. No difference in outcome was observed between patients treated with IV ceftriaxone and patients treated with oral doxycycline.

Conclusion: Remaining complaints are common after neuroborreliosis. The majority of the complaints are subjective. Pre-treatment symptom duration >or=6 weeks, high pre-treatment CSF cell count, and female gender seem to be risk factors for remaining complaints. Presence of CSF OCBs may also predict a non-favorable outcome, but this should be further studied. Whether subjective and objective complaints are associated with different risk factors is also an issue for future studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Ceftriaxone / therapeutic use
  • Chronic Disease / epidemiology
  • Comorbidity
  • Doxycycline / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leukocyte Count / statistics & numerical data
  • Lyme Neuroborreliosis / drug therapy
  • Lyme Neuroborreliosis / epidemiology*
  • Lyme Neuroborreliosis / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Time
  • Time Factors


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Ceftriaxone
  • Doxycycline