The following Article is written by Jennifer Keefe from the “Foster’s Daily Democrat”: New Hampshire residents suffering from chronic Lyme disease will no longer have to worry about finding a doctor who will treat with long-term antibiotics.
The following Article is written by Jennifer Keefe from the “Foster’s Daily Democrat”:
New Hampshire residents suffering from chronic Lyme disease will no longer have to worry about finding a doctor who will treat with long-term antibiotics.The bill, HB 295, that states doctors are free to treat Lyme disease with long-term antibiotics and cannot be punished by the Board of Medicine because of such prescriptions was passed Thursday.
prime sponsor Gary Daniels, R-Milford, said the bill is an important step in helping both patients and doctors as it acknowledges chronic Lyme disease is a real ailment.
The text of the bill reads, “No licensee may be subject to disciplinary action solely for prescribing, administering, or dispensing long-term antibiotic therapy for a patient clinically diagnosed with Lyme disease, if diagnosis and treatment has been documented and monitored in the physician’s medical record for that patient.”
Daniels said Thursday, “The problem we were encountering, and it seems to be a nationwide trend, is there are two standards for treatment and there seems to be favoritism over one standard that basically says there’s no such thing as chronic Lyme disease.”
He added that typically, if people have Lyme disease for longer than the four week average associated with the disease, they’re instead treated for other diseases such as fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome.
be such a thing as chronic Lyme disease and it can be treatable with long-term antibiotics,” Daniels said.
He said doctors would often avoid treatment with long-term antibiotics due to fear of being brought up on charges by the Medical Board simply because it wasn’t recognized as the appropriate treatment for Lyme disease. Patients would therefore have a hard time finding doctors in New Hampshire to treat the disease and would often seek help in other states.
“We’re trying to set in
place an environment where doctors are free to treat with long-term antibiotics and the bill says they can’t be punished solely because they prescribe or administer long-term antibiotics,” Daniels said.
The bill’s language regarding long-term treatment with antibiotics is only in reference to Lyme disease.
Daniels said such a move just makes sense, especially when long-term antibiotics are already used to treat for many other diseases such as acne, and cancers.
New Hampshire, he
said, has the highest incidence of Lyme disease per capita in the country, a statistic that played a large role in his sponsorship of the bill. He had been asked to bring the issue out into the open by a friend who suffered from Lyme disease for five years before she was diagnosed.
Daniels said the hope is Lyme disease and the instance of chronic Lyme disease will be better publicized and better understood because of this legislation.
And the overwhelming number of members of the public who came
to speak at a recent hearing on the bill, Daniels said, “at least dispelled the argument that there’s no such thing as chronic Lyme.”
The bill has become law but was not signed by Gov. John Lynch.