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J Neurol. 2016 Jan;263(1):17-24. doi: 10.1007/s00415-015-7923-0. Epub 2015 Oct 12.

Prevalence and spectrum of residual symptoms in Lyme neuroborreliosis after pharmacological treatment: a systematic review.

Author information

1
Department of Neurology, Medical Center-University of Freiburg, Breisacher Str. 64, 79104, Freiburg, Germany. Rick.Dersch@uniklinik-freiburg.de.
2
German Cochrane Centre, Medical Center-University of Freiburg, Berliner Allee 29, 79110, Freiburg, Germany. Rick.Dersch@uniklinik-freiburg.de.
3
Institute of Medical Biometry and Statistics, Medical Center-University of Freiburg, Stefan-Meier-Str. 26, 79104, Freiburg, Germany.
4
Department of Neurology, Medical Center-University of Freiburg, Breisacher Str. 64, 79104, Freiburg, Germany.
5
German Cochrane Centre, Medical Center-University of Freiburg, Berliner Allee 29, 79110, Freiburg, Germany.

Abstract

Controversy exists about residual symptoms after pharmacological treatment of Lyme neuroborreliosis. Reports of disabling long-term sequels lead to concerns in patients and health care providers. We systematically reviewed the available evidence from studies reporting treatment of Lyme neuroborreliosis to assess the prevalence and spectrum of residual symptoms after treatment. A literature search was performed in three databases and three clinical trial registers to find eligible studies reporting on residual symptoms in patients after pharmacological treatment of LNB. Diagnosis must have been performed according to consensus-derived case definitions. No restrictions regarding study design or language were set. Symptom prevalence was pooled using a random-effects model. Forty-four eligible clinical trials and studies were found: 8 RCTs, 17 cohort studies, 2 case-control studies, and 17 case series. The follow-up period in the eligible studies ranged from 7 days to 20 years. The weighted mean proportion of residual symptoms was 28 % (95 % CI 23-34 %, n = 34 studies) for the latest reported time point. Prevalence of residual symptoms was statistically significantly higher in studies using the "possible" case definition (p = 0.0048). Cranial neuropathy, pain, paresis, cognitive disturbances, headache, and fatigue were statistically significantly lower in studies using the "probable/definite" case definition. LNB patients may experience residual symptoms after treatment with a prevalence of approximately 28 %. The prevalence and spectrum of residual symptoms differ according to the applied case definition. Symptoms like fatigue are not reported in studies using the "probable/definite" case definition. As the "possible" case definition is more unspecific, patients with other conditions may be included. Reports of debilitating fatigue and cognitive impairment after LNB, a "post-Lyme syndrome", could therefore be an artifact of unspecific case definitions in single studies.

KEYWORDS:

Fatigue; Lyme disease; Lyme neuroborreliosis; Prevalence review; Residual symptoms; Systematic review

PMID:
26459093
DOI:
10.1007/s00415-015-7923-0
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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