“Repurposing” Disulfiram in the Treatment of Lyme Disease and Babesiosis: Retrospective Review of First 3 Years’ Experience in One Medical Practice

Published Date
Journal
Antibiotics (Basel)
Citation
Antibiotics 2020, 9(12), 868
DOI
10.3390/antibiotics9120868
Authors
Gao J
Gong Z
Montesano D
Glazer E
Liegner K
Abstract

A total of 71 patients with Lyme disease were identified for analysis in whom treatment with disulfiram was initiated between 15 March 2017 and 15 March 2020. Four patients were lost to follow-up, leaving 67 evaluable patients. Our retrospective review found patients to fall into a “high-dose” group (≥4 mg/kg/day) and a “low-dose” group (<4 mg/kg/day). In total, 62 of 67 (92.5%) patients treated with disulfiram were able to endorse a net benefit of the treatment with regard to their symptoms. Moreover, 12 of 33 (36.4%) patients who completed one or two courses of “high-dose” therapy enjoyed an “enduring remission”, defined as remaining clinically well for ≥6 months without further anti-infective treatment. The most common adverse reactions from disulfiram treatment in the high-dose group were fatigue (66.7%), psychiatric symptoms (48.5%), peripheral neuropathy (27.3%), and mild to moderate elevation of liver enzymes (15.2%). We observed that although patients on high dose experienced a higher risk for adverse reactions than those on a low dose, high-dose patients were significantly more likely to achieve enduring remission.