By Karen Vrchota M.D.

Disulfiram for Lyme Disease

DISULFIRAM Off Label Use in Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome 01 15 20

The following is for your information only, and is not intended to replace your practitioners medical advice. Please consult your health care practitioner before implementing any medical treatments.

Disulfiram (tetraethylthiuram), also known as Antabuse was first synthesized in 1881 and licensed by the FDA in 1951 as an enzyme inhibitor to treat alcoholism but recently in a 2016 Stanford study it was found to be highly effective against both active spirochetes and dormant antibiotic tolerant borrelia persister cells in culture and in mice. The research team searched four chemical libraries containing 4,366 compounds to identify novel drug candidates that might be repurposed to effectively treat Lyme borreliosis.

Disulfiram can also inhibit the enzyme dopamine β-hydroxylase (DBH), which converts dopamine to norepinephrine, leading to buildup of dopamine and deficiency of norepinephrine. High dopamine may lead to mania, low noepinephrine may lead to depression.

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There are also reports coming in that patients once off disulfiram treatment can suffer with some depression.  This is probably due to its ability to increase dopamine and will level off in time.  It may be wise to titrate off the medication just as you titrated up to it.  Talk this over with your doctor.