Controversy Of Treating Lyme Disease Arises In TX
Excerpted from CBS11tv.com ( Posted: 09/07/2010 )
“I was feeling severely fatigued,” she said. “It was hard just to get through the day.”
She was sick off and on for years, and didn’t know what was wrong with her.
In February, an urgent care doctor near her home told her he thought she had Lyme disease, a bacterial infection people get after being bitten by deer ticks. A bulls-eye lesion on the skin is a common symptom.
About 30,000 cases are reported nationwide each year, though experts say the number of cases could be much higher.
In Texas, however, the number of reported cases is far lower – only about 100 annually – and experts say that number could be lower because the ticks that spread Lyme disease aren’t common here.
For Reed, this was the second time she was diagnosed with the disease.
“I was bitten right around 16, up in New Jersey,” she said.
She believes when got Lyme disease as a teenager, she was never fully cured. Another physician, Dr. Ron Wilson of Denton, prescribed an aggressive treatment of antibiotics for Reed.
This treatment helped land Reed in the middle of a controversy that’s dividing the medical community and spurred the Texas Legislature to study the issues surrounding the disease.
“This is a very clever organism,” said Dr. Ron Wilson of Denton, who prescribed Reed the antibiotics. “A simple antibiotic for a short period of time may get rid of the symptoms for a while, but they come back.”
Reed said Wilson prescribed an IV infusion of antibiotics every twelve hours, four days a week for eight straight weeks. Reed keeps leftover medical supplies tucked away inside boxes.
“There is no evidence to support the fact that there is such a thing as chronic Lyme disease,” said Dr. Michael Norgard, chair of the Microbiology Department at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.
Norgard and other infectious disease doctors nationwide are convinced the disease should be treated with short-term antibiotics, no longer than three weeks. They worry extended use of these drugs could actually ruin a patients health.
Norgard, who specializes in Lyme disease, said doctors who treat the disease with ongoing and aggressive antibiotics are irresponsible.
“They’re subjecting their patients to false hopes,” he said. “They’re not really getting to the real ideology of the underlying illness.”
Wilson changed his OB/GYN practice so he could also treat patients with Lyme disease.
“Whether it’s controversial or not is not my problem,” he said, “my job is to take care of people.”
Reed even credits Wilson with her recovery.
“I feel like for the first time in ten years, I can actually get through the day and feel pretty good,” Reed said.
But Reed is forced to find a new doctor: The Texas Medical Board received a complaint about Wilson and investigated his treatment of Lyme disease. The board disciplined the doctor for failing to use “the generally acceptable standard of care…” based on guidelines from the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
“I feel discounted,” Wilson said. “I feel singled out.”
The board also concluded that the doctor recommended a patient buy a vitamin supplement that he received a percentage of profits for recommending. The state said Wilson must comply with its standard in treating Lyme disease and take an ethics course.
For the full article: http://cbs11tv.com/local/Lyme.disease.controversy.2.1901165.html