Lyme disease activists take their battle to the Legislature
Minnesota has joined the growing list of states that have submitted bills to protect doctors in the long-term antibiotic treatment for Lyme patients. Much like the laws that already exist in CT and RI, this bill if passed will allow doctors to freely treat patients without worry of losing their license from the State’s Medical Boards.
Excerpted from Pioneer Press ( Posted: 2/08/2010 )
Doctors who defy current treatment guidelines and prescribe long-term antibiotics for Lyme disease would gain legal protection under a bill in the Minnesota Legislature.
The proposal is the latest in a long-running dispute among doctors and patient advocates over the exact symptoms and duration of the tick-borne disease.
Advocates for Lyme disease sufferers say the current recommendation — treatment with 10 to 28 days of antibiotics — is insufficient for people with advanced or chronic levels of the disease. Conversely, some doctors say they don’t believe Lyme can reach a chronic stage and worry that long-term antibiotic use just leads to resistance and drug side effects.
Lawmakers in Monday’s meeting of the Senate Committee on Health, Housing and Family Security got an earful from both sides. Michelle Backes, of Lindstrom, Minn., said long-term antibiotic therapy relieved the numbness, pain and tremors caused by her Lyme infection but only after a prolonged search for a doctor who would prescribe it. Three other Minnesotans shared similar stories.
“People are sick,” said a tearful Backes. “They need help.”