A 60 year old female came to my office over one year ago. She had been struggling with fibromyalgia, ulcerative colitis and depression for decades. She provided a multi-page list of symptoms. The highlights were: fatigue, pain, loss of sensations, symptoms related to special senses--hearing-vision, AND rather profound cognitive deficits. She was on a list of nutritional supplements which filled a full page. She had been a highly functional professional in the past. She suspected she might have chronic Lyme disease; this diagnosis had never been made.
She brought sheaves of lab work which was unhelpful. I found her to have an elevated rheumatoid factor-(174)-normal less then 14. Her white blood cell count was minimally depressed, 3.7. Her CD57 was slightly depressed, 50. Special Clongen labs showed positive 39 and 23 Western Blot bands. A wet mount exam showed round extracellular bacteria.
The initial physical exam revealed a fairly profound peripheral neuropathy.
Her treatment was complex; she was prescribed a number of antibiotic combinations.
I will not discuss all the antibiotics she has taken over time, except to say that she was aggressively treated for the known co-infections.
One drug which has been particularly efficacious is Cipro. When this was discontinued she has back-pedaled everytime: symptoms which had improved return.
When I started treating chronic Lyme in a serious way, several years ago, I was sent a paper written by Dr. Jemsek. He described a Lyme regimen in which he used Cipro with Doxycyline. He stated that the two drugs worked via an intracellular mechanism and were synergistic.
After reading this I jumped on the Cipro train. Old data on MICs(minimal inhibitory concentrations), showed that Cipro was reasonably active against Bb.
I used Doxy and Cipro and then began switching to Cipro and Amoxicillin.
Doxycyline works by inhibiting protein synthesis within bacteria. Cipro works by inhibiting DNA gyrase necessary for DNA synthesis. Rather than using two intracellular antibiotics I combined a cell wall inhibitor with an intracellular antibiotic with the belief that this might be more effective. This sort of thinking was espoused by many LLMDS if not this particular combination.
In those days I wasn't giving Bartonella much thought, but it is well known that Cipro has activity against Bartonella.
I had years of experience with Cipro prior to launching into the the waters of Lyme. The tendon rupture issue is much exaggerated in my experience. What I know about Cipro is that it is a very powerful antibiotic. It has been claimed that oral Cipro can provide tissue antibiotic levels rivaling that of IV antibiotics. Cipro is one of the few antibiotics able to cross the prostate/blood barrier. Very high tissue concentrations--in many organs, are achieved with oral doses.
As I look back at charts of patients treated with Cipro I find that many had excellent responses. Then I stopped using Cipro for the most part: it was not an LLMD recommended drug.
As of late I am using the drug more. It provides high tissue concentrations, is active against Bb- and also works for Bartonella-or Bartonella syndrome.
I start low: 250 mg daily-- and then increase to 250mg twice daily. This relatively low dose is frequently effective. Patients are warned about tendon/muscle pain. I generally institute it when these pains have already been controlled by other antibiotics. I have never seen a tendon rupture.
As aside, Cipro is also active against Mycoplasmas and Chlamydia pneumonia.