These are my opinions based on my reading and clinical experiences.
Most of the patients I treat with significant chronic Lyme disease suffer with a variety of neuro-psychiatric symptoms. Patients have recently commented to me about the post on Klonopin.
Patients with Lyme-Brain seem to have poor tolerance for SSRIs: drugs which increase serotonin levels in brain synapses. Perhaps the injured brain is sensitive to these drugs. Many patients come to me already taking drugs with a strong affinity for serotonin receptors in the brain such as Lexapro or Cymbalta. These drugs may cause increased brain fog, irritability and a paradoxical increase in depression.
Other anti-depressants act primarily on the brain chemical norepinephrine. Patients seem to tolerate these drugs better. These includes the anti-depressant Wellbutrin and ADD medicines which also effect dopamine. Charts in pharma books show the relative affinity of anti-depressants for serotonin and norepinephrine. If the ratio favors norepinephrine the patients may tolerate this drug better. This includes drugs such as Desipramine, an old TCA antidepressant. These meds are best tolerated in low doses.
Drugs used for ADD can be quite helpful. These drugs target the neuro-transmitter dopamine as
well as norepinephrine. These drugs increase wakefulness and energy and may correct some frontal lobe dysfunction seen in many Lyme patients. My favorite drug here is Ritalin which comes in a variety of doses and can be carefully titrated.
Mood stabilizers can be very helpful as well. These drugs are anti-convulsants which stabilize abnormal chemical/electrical imbalances in the brain. I like Lamictal because it has antidepressant effects and mild glutamate inhibition. This drug has significant toxicity and should only be prescribed by physicians familiar with its side effects. Glutamate toxicity is thought to be a major problem in the injured brain. The best drug for glutamate toxicity may be the anti-Alzheimer's drug Namenda, which frequently improves cognitive dysfunction.(Rocephin also works by this mechanism).
Klonopin binds to the neuro-transmitter GABA, which is a major inhibitory neuro-transmitter.
Lyme patients can suffer with excessive expression of excitatory neurochemical in the brain. Most of this is mediated by serotonin, the "work horse of the brain." This dovetails with my comments about the potential harmful effects of serotonergic drugs.
Other commonly used GABA drugs are Neurontin and Lyrica which may be well tolerated. In my experience, benzodizapines like Klonopin work better. This may be due their increased anti-anxiety effects.
Anti-psychotic medicines, like Seroqel, are certainly helpful for patients experiencing psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations. They may help in other ways. Although they inhibit dopamine, they bind to different receptors, deep in the brain, unlike ADD medications which stimulate dopamine pathways in the cortex of the brain.
Many Lyme patients have sleep disorders. The activating neuro-chemicals, serotonin and norepinephrine are prominent during waking hours. This is counteracted by a predominance of acetlycholine effects which occur during sleep. Restful sleep is important. When a "sleeper" is needed I prefer Restoril which produces a good night's sleep and promotes normal sleep architecture. Lunesta may be a good alternative.