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Between June 1981 and July 1987 the efficacy of antibiotic treatment of 215 patients with erythema chronicum migrans of
Lyme disease was evaluated in terms of the necessity for retreatment and the prevention of the late manifestations of
Lyme disease. The principal antibiotics utilized to treat 161 patients through 1986 were varying doses of tetracycline, or penicillin alone or in combination with probenecid. Two of 80 patients with a minor form of the illness and 17 of 81 patients with a major form of the illness required retreatment. There were four patients who did not respond to retreatment with their original medication. A 15- to 30-day course of amoxicillin (500 mg q.i.d.) and probenecid (500 mg q.i.d.) or doxycycline (100 mg t.i.d.), and on three occasions ceftriaxone (2-4 g/day i.v.), were used to treat 54 patients in 1987. Although it is too early to judge the efficacy of treatment in these patients, increases in the incidence of Herxheimer reactions and drug eruptions were observed. Strict compliance with treatment protocols and the possibility of reactions to medications should be thoroughly discussed with patients.