IV Antibiotics for Lyme disease:

IV therapy is when liquid substances (ie. Meyers cocktail, or Ceftriaxone) are delivered to the body via a vein in the arm, back of the hand, port or other methods. This system of delivery allows for the liquid to be directly infused into the blood, therefore most efficiently absorbed into the system. Like vitamin drips, it is an effective way to get the antibiotics into the body and working quickly.

The major difference between IV and oral antibiotics is that oral antibiotics must travel through the digestive system before they can be fully absorbed into the blood while IV antibiotics are administered directly into the blood. The. Most common IV antibiotic used in Lyme disease treatments is Ceftriaxone, or more commonly known as Rocephin. IV antibiotics will usually be prescribed when a patient is very sick and needs more immediate relief or a greater, more aggressive and systemic way of attacking the bad bacteria.

Depending on your doctor and what type of antibiotic you’ll be infusing, you may be put on a very specific infusion schedule. Due to the strong nature of IV antibiotics, pulsing throughout the week is a common form of treatment. Example: 4 days on, 3 days off. Each infusion will take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half and can be done at your own home either on your own (assuming you’ve been trained by your Doctor) or via a visiting nurse. Otherwise, infusions will be done at a hospital infusion lab or doctor’s office.

IV antibiotics should always be used with care and consideration. It is always best to have a professional opinion before you begin treatment, especially when considering other antibiotics and supplements that you may already be taking. There are many serious side effects of antibiotics and should be seriously considered before starting them.

PROS: Positive effects could be seen much quicker than they would on oral antibiotics alone. Can be covered by insurance, at least for an initial period of time, though you should always read the fine print where insurance companies are concerned.

CONS: Can be expensive if not covered by insurance. Can be painful of uncomfortable, especially at first. Will likely need a Lyme literate doctor to prescribe these. Herx reactions (see Combinations Pulsed Antibiotics for more information) may come on quicker than usual and be more intense. As with all antibiotics, symptoms can range from manageable to severe. 

There are serious concerns of creating antibiotic resistance or having side effects from this high dose of antibiotics along with side effects that can permanently damage the body. There are equal stories of people regaining their life from IV antibiotics to almost dying. You should consult with a practioner you truly trust before beginning a regiment.

 

***See CombinationPulsed Antibiotics page for more information on antibiotic treatment

 

PICC Line for Lyme disease:

PICC stands for peripherally inserted central catheter. Inserting a PICC line is a common procedure in which a thin, flexible tube will be inserted into a large vein in the upper arm. The tube will be threaded through the vein until it rests just above the heart. A technician will use a numbing agent so there is no pain (just some pressure) and the tube will be guided through the vein with the help of ultrasound and/or X-ray. A PICC line can stay in place for several weeks or months without needing to be changed or taken out. It is a more effective way of delivering IV antibiotics into your body if you intend to be using them on a regular basis. The placement of the tube just above the heart allows for a quicker response time for medications and nutrients, etc. If done properly, once the line is in and the initial discomfort settles, it shouldn’t be at all noticeable. 

Each infusion with a PICC line will take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half and can be done at your own home either on your own (assuming you’ve been trained by your Doctor) or via a visiting nurse. Otherwise, infusions will be done at a hospital infusion lab or doctor’s office. PICC lines require regular cleaning by a nurse, either in home or at a facility.

This procedure should be taken seriously and adequate discussion and caution should be used when considering a PICC line with your doctor.

PROS: A PICC line will save you from constantly getting poked. It is a great idea if longterm IV antibiotics are being considered. Regular physical activity can still happen, but conscious caution of the PICC line site should be observed. Can be covered by insurance, at least for an initial period of time, though you should always read the fine print where insurance companies are concerned.

CONS: Not always covered by insurance, especially long term. The PICC line can hurt initially and cause some discomfort while you get used to it. The body can reject it. Infection and blood clots, while rare, are possible—close monitoring and regular cleanings should be practiced.

 

Port for Lyme disease:

A Port, also known as a Porta-Cath, is a catheter and port inserted under the skin in the chest into the super vena cava (a large vein just above the heart). The Port procedure is very similar to that of a PICC line: a thin, flexible tube will be inserted into a large vein in the the chest, the tube will be threaded through the vein until it rests just above the heart, a technician will use a numbing agent so that there is no pain (just some pressure) and the tube will be guided through the vein with the help of ultrasound and/or X-ray. A Port, like a PICC line, will sit above the heart and make for more effective distribution of antibiotics and nutrients, etc. Also like the PICC line, a Port can stay in for several weeks to several months without needing to be changed or taken out. 

 

Each infusion with a Port will take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half and can be done at your own home either on your own (assuming you’ve been trained by your Doctor) or via a visiting nurse. Otherwise, infusions will be done at a hospital infusion lab or doctor’s office. Ports require regular cleaning by a nurse, either in home or at a facility. 

 

This procedure should be taken seriously and adequate discussion and caution should be used when considering a Port with your doctor. Ports are a good alternative to PICC lines when the patient has poor veins in the arms.

PROS: A Port line will save you from constantly getting poked. It is a great idea if longterm IV antibiotics are being considered. Regular physical activity can still happen, but conscious caution of the Port site should be observed. Can be covered by insurance, at least for an initial period of time, though you should always read the fine print where insurance companies are concerned.

 

CONS: Not always covered by insurance, especially long term. The Port can hurt initially and cause some discomfort while you get used to it. The body can reject it. Infection and blood clots, while rare, are possible—close monitoring and regular cleanings should be practiced.