Matthew Goss's Lyme Disease InformationHerxheimer Reactions
|An unusual characteristic
of this disease is what is known as a Herxheimer reaction (named after a
guy named Herxheimer who discovered the phenomenon).
When treatment begins, the antibiotics or other drugs start to kill the bacteria. As the bacteria die off, they release neurotoxins which will actually cause the infected person to have symptoms much worse than they did before they started treatment.
Lyme patients refer to this reaction as a "herx" or as "herxing." Patients and doctors can use these reactions to determine how well a patient is responding to treatment.
A strong reaction says that the treatment is working well. Also, in cases where a diagnosis was made based on symptoms alone, with a negative test for the disease, a Herxheimer reaction can confirm that a person is actually infected with the disease.
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Last Update: 10/22/2004