Is Antabuse (disulfiram) The Magic Bullet for Chronic Lyme Disease?

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Antabuse (Disulfiram) Image for Chronic Lyme Disease Treatment by Marty Ross MD

Marty Ross MD on Antabuse for Chronic Lyme Disease

This is mainly a video article. You will need to listen to the whole video for my thoughts on Antabuse (disulfiram) as a new treatment for chronic Lyme disease. Below this video I provide additional points I did not mention during Conversations with Marty Ross MD on 7/18/19 when I recorded these comments.

 
 
 
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Antabuse (Disulfiram) Dosing

Antabuse can be given up to 500 mg 1 time a day. But due to the possibility of herxheimer reactions, Dr. Kinderlerherer suggests starting at lower doses. See his article at lymedisease.org for information on how he suggests dosing this medication.

Dr. Liegner’s published study suggest disulfiram can work alone without any other antibiotics.

As I return to practice in Seattle later this year (or early 2020) I plan to offer this medication based on it’s potential to help persister Lyme. I will report back at that time on dosing I find helpful in my Seattle practice.

Research on Disulfiram for Chronic Lyme Disease

As I note in the video, it is too early to tell if Antabuse (disulfiram) will work for a wide variety of people. Although Dr. Liegner has published promising results based on three patients in his practice, we need further studies to see if this will work in a wide variety of patients and clinical situations. I am pleased to see that Dr. Brian Fallon at Columbia University is planning a randomized clinical trial of 24 patients to document in a research setting if Antabuse works. For more information about his study see Disulfiram: A Test of Symptom Reduction Among Patients With Previously Treated Lyme Disease.

One more point,  we do not know how disulfiram works as an antibiotic in Lyme disease. Hopefully with research this will become clear. 

Additional Resources

In the video I discussed a number of topics which I cover in more detail on this site. For information about dapsone read Dapsone for Lyme Persisters: A Miracle Antibiotic? For more information about Lyme persisters and treatment options see How to Treat Persister Lyme: What Works?

Disclaimer

The ideas and recommendations on this website and in this article are for informational purposes only. For more information about this, see the sitewide Terms & Conditions.

References

View Citations

  1. Lewis KKS. Lyme Disease in the Era of Precision Medicine. Available online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUlKTnrGPgc (Accessed July 22, 2019)
  2. Pothineni VR, Wagh D, Babar MM, et al. Identification of new drug candidates against Borrelia burgdorferi using high-throughput screening. Drug Des Devel Ther. 2016;10:1307–1322. Published 2016 Apr 1. doi:10.2147/DDDT.S101486
  3. Liegner KB. Disulfiram (Tetraethylthiuram Disulfide) in the Treatment of Lyme Disease and Babesiosis: Report of Experience in Three Cases. Antibiotics (Basel). 2019;8(2):72. Published 2019 May 30. doi:10.3390/antibiotics8020072
  4. Scheibel LW, Adler A, Trager W. Tetraethylthiuram disulfide (Antabuse) inhibits the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1979;76(10):5303–5307. doi:10.1073/pnas.76.10.5303
  5. Kinderlehrer DA. Disulfiram–breakthrough drug for Lyme and other tick-borne diseases? lymedisease.org. https://www.lymedisease.org/disulfiram-kinderlehrer/. Published July 11, 2019. Accessed July 22, 2019

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About the Author

Marty Ross, MD is a passionate Lyme disease educator and clinical expert. He helps Lyme sufferers and their physicians see what really works based on his review of the science and extensive real-world experience. Dr. Ross is licensed to practice medicine in Washington State where he treated thousands of Lyme disease patients in his Seattle practice through late 2018. Marty is currently on sabbatical in Austin, TX. Dr. Ross plans to reopen his Seattle Lyme practice in early 2020.

Marty Ross, MD is a graduate of Indiana University School of Medicine and Georgetown University Family Medicine Residency. He is a member of the International Lyme and Associated Disease Society (ILADS) and The Institute for Functional Medicine.

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