Friday, July 18, 2008
Does Diflucan Kill Lyme?
This is an interesting topic. I tried to do some research but came up with nothing convincing. There are many claims in cyberspace that Diflucan, an antifungal which targets Candida is an effective therapy for Lyme. What is true is that many patients on chronic antibiotic therapy develop Candida infections as a complication of long term antimicrobials. Fungi or yeast act in an opportunistic way. The normal flora of bacteria are gone. The yeast which are biologically weaker move in when they see the "no vacancy" sign. Yeast infections can cause vaginitis, thrush-an infection of the oral cavity, and infection of the esophagus which can cause problems swallowing. Some Lyme literate MDs think that yeast infections exacerbate Lyme symptoms. It is known that yeast infections can exacerbate MS symptoms. Some doctors think that chronic yeast infections make people sick. My opinion is that the presence of a chronic yeast infection is an indicator of poor immune function. Chronic yeast infections are not a cause of chronic disease; rather they may be a result of chronic illness. I have a patient with Lyme/MS who rapidly deteriorates when she stops Diflucan. There is a reported mechanism of the benefits of Diflucan on Lyme. It claims that Diflucan inhibits an enzyme in the liver which helps eliminate drugs and toxins: the P450 enzyme. The claim is that Lyme bacteria have a weak P450 system. Because of this, antibiotics cannot be eliminated and are more effective. This argument makes no sense to me; I am not buying it. Diflucan has a role. I don't know what it is. It should be used judiciously since it has been associated with liver toxicity. More research is needed in this area. At this point I have an open mind about it and would like to hear comments from patients.