INTRODUCTION: Neuroborreliosis (NB) is a prevalent tick-borne neuroinfection in Europe. To delineate current practice in antimicrobial management of adults with NB and to prioritize future trials needed to optimize treatment recommendations, a questionnaire-based survey was performed.
METHODS: A self-administered Internet-based survey of NB treatment practices among specialists in infectious diseases and neurology based in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark was carried out between October 2021 and February 2022. The participants were also asked to prioritize four pre-defined research questions for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on therapy for NB.
RESULTS: In total, 290 physicians (45% female) from Norway (30%), Sweden (40%), and Denmark (30%) participated in the survey. Of the responders, 230 (79%) were infectious disease specialists and 56 (19%) were neurologists. The preferred antibiotic treatment for patients with early NB was oral doxycycline (n = 225, 78%). Intravenous (IV) penicillin, ceftriaxone, or cefotaxime for the full treatment course was favored by 12%. A preferred treatment duration of 10-14 days for patients with NB was reported by 245 respondents (85%), most common among participants from Sweden (97%). A total of 170 (59%) responders reported having local hospital guidelines on the treatment of NB, most often with recommendation of oral doxycycline (92%) for 10-14 days (90%) as first line treatment. The prioritization score for future RCTs was highest for adjunctive prednisone therapy in NB patients with facial palsy (median 5; IQR 4-6) and for placebo versus repeated antibiotics in patients with persistent symptoms after completed antibiotic therapy for NB (median 5, IQR 3-6).
CONCLUSION: In Sweden, all respondents preferred treating NB with oral doxycycline for 10-14 days, whereas 5% in Norway and 19% in Denmark still treat NB with IV antibiotics for the entire treatment course. RCTs to define the role of adjunctive prednisolone in NB patients with facial palsy and repeated antibiotics in patients with persistent symptoms are prioritized for future research.