Can Lyme Disease Antibiotics Prevent Osteoporosis?

osteoporosis hip fracture lyme diseaseA DEXA scan is a standard screening test for bone-density and may be recommended for patients who are prescribed medications in the same class as clindamycin and flagyl which can adversely affect the density of the bones. Some patients at risk of bone loss for other reasons, such as an existing lack of mobility, or for women who are post-menopausal, may be prescribed a Lyme disease antibiotic medication such as minocycline instead. This antibiotic was actually found in a small animal study by Williams (et al, 1998), to reduce bone resorption (removal) and to stimulate the growth of new bone. The study was carried out on female rats who had had their ovaries removed, making it difficult to generalize the findings for all Lyme disease patients, but it may be a consideration nonetheless for those who have low oestrogen levels and are receiving treatment for Lyme disease.


Another study from 1991 by Sasaki, et al, found that tetracycline could have possible benefits for bone health in some groups of patients as it appeared to restore osteoblast structure and function in a diabetic animal model after just three weeks of treatment. Osteoblasts are the bone cells which create new bone tissue, as opposed to osteoclasts which are responsible for bone breakdown. Osteopenia, which is a complication in some diabetes mellitus patients, may then be benefited by the choice of tetracycline Lyme disease antibiotics over other possible medications, particularly if being used longer-term.

Low-Dose Doxycycline for Periodontal Disease and Osteoporosis

Doxycycline has also been shown in a recent study (Golub, et al, 2010), using humans rather than rats, to significantly reduce the progression of periodontal disease in postmenopausal women with osteopenia. The dose of doxycycline used in this study was, however, lower than would be necessary to treat Lyme disease. The subantimicrobial-dose-doxycycline (SDD) treatment was associated with a reduction in biomarkers of collagen destruction (with ramifications for the health of connective tissue), and reduced bone resorption. This study observed 128 women with chronic periodontitis who received either placebo tablets or SDD daily for two years along with standard care. The women were not yet on anti-osteoporotic drugs and such therapy may allow them to postpone the need for such osteoporosis treatment, but would not be sufficient to treat Lyme disease should it be present or occur whilst on the medication.

Continue Reading –> Causes of Lyme Disease Osteoporosis