Management of suspected Lyme borreliosis: experience from an outpatient parenteral antibiotic therapy service

QJM. 2013 Feb;106(2):133-8. doi: 10.1093/qjmed/hcs189. Epub 2012 Oct 15.


Objectives: Lyme borreliosis (LB) is the most common human tick-borne infection in Europe and the USA. In this study we set out to analyse the outcome of patients treated for Lyme disease via outpatient parenteral antibiotic therapy (OPAT) and the appropriateness of this treatment using current guidelines.

Methods: This was a retrospective review of all patients with suspected LB managed via OPAT in Glasgow in 2000-11.

Results: Of 72 patients treated for suspected LB, 35 patients (49%) were treated in accordance with guidelines and 36 (50%) were treated with no specific guidelines. A definite improvement was seen in 20 patients (28%). Adverse reactions were documented in 29 (40%) patients with neutropenia, and mild liver function derangement was most commonly observed.

Conclusion: These results show the complexity of translating well-substantiated regimens from clinical trials to actual clinical practice. OPAT was an effective way of administering parenteral therapy for Lyme disease but should not be undertaken lightly due to the rate of adverse events and low rates of success in certain patient groups seen in this study. In view of this, stricter criteria for inclusion to OPAT in line with published guidance should be applied to minimize patient harm and optimize success.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Ambulatory Care / methods
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / economics
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Female
  • Home Infusion Therapy / economics
  • Home Infusion Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Lyme Disease / drug therapy*
  • Lyme Disease / economics
  • Lyme Disease / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outpatients / statistics & numerical data
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Scotland / epidemiology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents