MSIDS Research Foundation Study Finds That Leprosy Drugs Provide Potential Cure for Chronic Lyme Disease, Promising Hope for Millions of Chronic Lyme Disease Patients

NEW HAVEN, Conn.--()--A groundbreaking in vivo clinical study conducted by Dr. Richard Horowitz, serving on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Babesia and Tick-borne Pathogens subcommittee, has found that an eight-week course of the proven leprosy drug dapsone combined with doxycycline and rifampin is effective in improving symptoms in 98% of patients suffering from chronic Lyme disease/Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS). Dapsone not only acts as a ‘persister’ drug, but also lowers inflammation, has anti-malarial effects, and can be effective in an autoimmune illness. These are all clinical manifestations that can be seen in chronic Lyme disease with associated co-infections like Babesia (a malarial-like parasite) and Bartonella (an intracellular bacterium). After using this novel oral, generic antibiotic protocol, 58 percent of those with a history of PTLDS remained in remission for one year or longer, providing new hope for those suffering from chronic Lyme disease. Until now, no treatment has been available for PTLDS. The study is published today in the peer-reviewed journal Antibiotics.

Lyme borreliosis is a worldwide epidemic, which can result in disabling chronic fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, and neuropsychiatric complaints. Between 300,000 and 500,000 new Lyme disease cases are diagnosed in the U.S. every year, with an estimated 2 million individuals suffering from PTLDS. Prior National Institute of Health (NIH) trials have shown that symptoms of chronic Lyme disease can be as severe as chronic congestive heart failure, leading to long-term suffering and disability, elevated healthcare costs, and financial insecurity. Insurance companies have usually denied the persistence of Lyme bacteria after standard antibiotic therapies. This frequently leads to a denial of long-term treatment and lack of access to care for chronically ill patients, who are left without answers as to the etiology of their long-term illness.

During the past decade, new research from Stanford University, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of New Haven have shown the presence of novel biofilm forms and ‘persister’ forms of Borrelia in culture, which potentially explains treatment resistance and relapse. A recent study published in the Springer journal BMC Research Notes, conducted by University of New Haven researchers and Dr. Richard Horowitz, showed how the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi, forms biofilms that protect the organism, and that dapsone combination therapy was one of the most effective treatments against the biofilm form of the bacteria. This study helps identify dapsone’s novel mechanism, which explains in part its effectiveness in relieving resistant symptoms in chronic Lyme disease. The follow-up clinical study demonstrated that combining antibiotics including a tetracycline with older leprosy drugs, e.g., rifampin and dapsone, led to a 98% improvement and 45% long term remission rate in all patients. Both studies were funded by the MSIDS Research Foundation (MRF) which supports research for causes, treatments, and possible cures of tick-borne and other vector-borne illnesses, as well as the causes, treatments, and possible cures of other acute and chronic diseases.

The next step is to perform a randomized, placebo-controlled trial using double dose dapsone combination therapy (DDS CT), done in parallel with studies to find answers for resistant tickborne co-infections,” said Dr. Richard Horowitz. “The goal is to decisively prove that the elusive “cure” for Lyme disease that has evaded researchers and clinicians for decades may now finally be within reach, curing the suffering of millions of patients worldwide.”

Dr. Richard Horowitz

Dr. Richard Horowitz is a board-certified internist and medical director of the Hudson Valley Healing Arts Center, specializing in the treatment of tick-borne disorders. He has treated over 13,000 Chronic Lyme disease patients in the past 30 years and was a member of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Tick-borne Disease Working Group and co-chair of the HHS Other Tick-borne Diseases and Co-infections subcommittee that provided Congress with recommendations on tick-borne illness. He is presently serving on the HHS Babesia and Tick-borne Pathogens subcommittee. His latest book “How Can I Get Better? An Action Plan for Treating Resistant Lyme and Chronic Disease” explains his comprehensive approach to treating resistant chronic illness.

MSIDS Research Foundation (MRF)

MRF was formed for the purposes of researching the causes, treatments, and possible cures of tick-borne and other vector-borne illnesses, as well as the causes, treatments, and possible cures of other acute and chronic diseases. The goal of the MRF is to disseminate research and expand scientific knowledge for the benefit of all who suffer from acute and chronic illnesses.

Related Studies

  • The Springer study showed that higher doses of dapsone were more effective in culture against the biofilm forms of Borrelia (Horowitz, R.I., Murali, K., Gaur, G. et al. Effect of dapsone alone and in combination with intracellular antibiotics against the biofilm form of B. burgdorferi. BMC Res Notes 13, 455 (2020).
  • Antibiotics (Efficacy of Double-Dose Dapsone Combination Therapy in the Treatment of Chronic Lyme Disease/Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS) and Associated Co-infections: A Report of Three Cases and Retrospective Chart Review. Antibiotics, accepted Oct 21, 2020.
  • Retrospective study on 200 patients who improved on dapsone combination therapy (Horowitz, R.I.; Freeman, P.R. Precision Medicine: retrospective chart review and data analysis of 200 patients on dapsone combination therapy for chronic Lyme disease/post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome: part 1. International Journal of General Medicine 2019:12 101–119. Horowitz, R.I.; Freeman, P.R.
  • Precision Medicine: The Role of the MSIDS Model in Defining, Diagnosing, and Treating Chronic Lyme Disease/Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome and Other Chronic Illness: Part 2. Healthcare 2018, 6, 129.; Horowitz RI, Freeman PR (2016).
  • Retrospective study on 100 patients who improved on dapsone combination therapy (The Use of Dapsone as a Novel “Persister” Drug in the Treatment of Chronic Lyme Disease/Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome. J Clin Exp Dermatol Res 7: 345. doi:10.4172/2155-9554.1000345).


Susan Butenhoff, (415) 630-1230

Release Summary

New study proves that Leprosy drug provides a potential cure for Chronic Lyme Disease, promising hope for millions of Chronic Lyme Disease patients.


Susan Butenhoff, (415) 630-1230