Some people suffering the effects of Lyme disease are asking Massachusetts lawmakers to require insurance companies to pay for long term antibiotic treatment. But studies have not found the treatment to be effective.
Victoria Lehtonen contracted Lyme disease in 2009. She experienced headaches, fever, fatigue, insomnia and terrible joint pain. Then she switched doctors and started a controversial treatment – long term IV antibiotics. Her mother, Karla Lehtonen, said there’s been improvement:
“Last year she could not read. She had very very severe fatigue, she could not write. This year she is keeping up with online coursework, her physical therapist is reporting improvement since starting IV treatment in terms of her stamina and her ability to do exercise without fatigue.”
Insurance companies cover short term antibiotics to treat Lyme disease. But in most cases they won't cover long-term I-V treatment with antibiotics because no study has proved their effectiveness and the treatment can cause serious complications, according to the National Institutes of Health.
A committee leader says he plans to advance the bill and send it to the Center for Health Information and Analysis for further study.