Tetracycline Treatment Tolerability Trial

Study Purpose

Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study (with a one-week washout period) where subjects receive either 3 months of tetracycline or 3 months of placebo. After the 3 month primary endpoint, in the follow-up period, patients will be assigned to the alternate treatment for 3 months with blind maintained.

Recruitment Criteria

Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Healthy volunteers are participants who do not have a disease or condition, or related conditions or symptoms

Study Type

An interventional clinical study is where participants are assigned to receive one or more interventions (or no intervention) so that researchers can evaluate the effects of the interventions on biomedical or health-related outcomes.

An observational clinical study is where participants identified as belonging to study groups are assessed for biomedical or health outcomes.

Searching Both is inclusive of interventional and observational studies.

Eligible Ages 18 Years - 80 Years
Gender All
More Inclusion & Exclusion Criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

  • - ≥ 18 to 80 years of age.
  • - Meet criteria operationalized from the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) case definition for PTLD (ref) previously treated with at least one recommended course of antibiotic therapy.
  • - Have persistent symptoms in at least the last month.
"Currently have at least one symptom attributed to Lyme disease that a) you've experienced in the past month and b) limits your daily functioning at least half the time when its present"
  • - Fatigue Severity Scale survey score of at least 4.0 signifying moderate or greater severity of fatigue.
  • - Medical Records documented history of definite or probable Lyme disease with onset starts in the last 5 years, with symptoms developing within 1 year of Lyme onset.
Definite LD. Medical record documented history of erythema migrans or medical record documented history of a Lyme disease compatible neurologic, cardiac or musculoskeletal manifestation of Lyme disease with a confirmatory 2-tier serology, modified 2-tier serologic test, or immunoglobulin G (IgG) western blot and a lack of alternative diagnosis Probable LD. Medical record documented history of Lyme disease with atypical or nonspecific manifestations with a confirmatory 2-tier serology, modified 2-tier serologic test, or IgG western blot and a lack of alternative diagnosis.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • - Medications: No antibiotics in the prior 2 months No change in medications during the prior 4 months that might have an impact on primary and secondary outcome measures.
See list. No immunosuppressive medications No medications that interact with tetracycline: atovaquone, retinoid medications taken by mouth (such as acitretin, isotretinoin), strontium, digoxin, kaolin pectin, warfarin Use of prescription or over the counter (OTC) medications containing calcium (i.e. Tums) • History of the following conditions predating the diagnosis of Lyme disease: Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome Fibromyalgia Autoimmune disease.
  • - Major psychiatric conditions Bipolar disorder, delusional disorder, schizophrenia Major depression Suicidal ideation with intent during the prior 6 months.
  • - History of the following conditions in the last 4 months Alcohol or substance abuse Cancer (other than skin) Untreated HIV/AIDS Untreated moderate to severe sleep apnea Hepatitis A, B or C Pregnancy or intent to become pregnant Breastfeeding.
  • - BMI greater than 40.
- Other conditions at the discretion of the clinician

Trial Details

Trial ID:

This trial id was obtained from ClinicalTrials.gov, a service of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, providing information on publicly and privately supported clinical studies of human participants with locations in all 50 States and in 196 countries.


Phase 1: Studies that emphasize safety and how the drug is metabolized and excreted in humans.

Phase 2: Studies that gather preliminary data on effectiveness (whether the drug works in people who have a certain disease or condition) and additional safety data.

Phase 3: Studies that gather more information about safety and effectiveness by studying different populations and different dosages and by using the drug in combination with other drugs.

Phase 4: Studies occurring after FDA has approved a drug for marketing, efficacy, or optimal use.

Phase 2
Lead Sponsor

The sponsor is the organization or person who oversees the clinical study and is responsible for analyzing the study data.

Johns Hopkins University
Principal Investigator

The person who is responsible for the scientific and technical direction of the entire clinical study.

John N. Aucott, MD
Principal Investigator Affiliation Johns Hopkins University
Agency Class

Category of organization(s) involved as sponsor (and collaborator) supporting the trial.

Overall Status Enrolling by invitation
Countries United States

The disease, disorder, syndrome, illness, or injury that is being studied.

Post-Treatment Lyme Disease
Additional Details

There is precedent for the use of tetracycline class antibiotics as an anti-inflammatory agent in chronic illnesses including dermatologic and rheumatologic illnesses. The 2015 American College of Rheumatology Guideline for the Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) includes long-term therapy with tetracycline in its treatment recommendations. This class of antibiotics has known anti-inflammatory effect in addition to its antimicrobial properties. Tetracyclines, in particular minocycline, have been associated with a significant improvement in disease activity in RA with no increased risk of adverse effects. To date, no clinical trials have examined the benefit of extended duration; i.e. >4 weeks tetracycline therapy in PTLD. Concerns over side effects and the development of antibiotic-resistance and superinfections such as Clostridioides difficile have limited the use of long-term antibiotics, including tetracycline. There is a large body of literature on tetracycline and other drugs in this class regarding the drugs' anti-inflammatory properties and potential benefit in several non-infectious diseases such cerebrovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and rosacea. The investigators believe that this deserves further study. Initially, the investigators propose this pilot study to examine the feasibility and tolerability of tetracycline treatment in PTLD Secondarily, the investigators propose to assess preliminary data on the efficacy of 3 months duration tetracycline treatment in reducing PTLD symptoms at

  • (1) the end of the three-month treatment period, and (2) rate of change during the 1st 3 months of treatment.
Lastly, as an exploration, the investigators will explore in the follow-up period the return of symptoms after the completion of the 3 month tetracycline and the effect of 3 months of tetracycline in the placebo arm. The investigators hypothesize that a tetracycline study over a 4 year interval will be feasible to conduct and tolerable to patients. Secondarily, the investigators hypothesize that 3 months of tetracycline treatment will be associated with greater improvements in fatigue, symptom burden and functional impact than placebo. This research is important because the long-term sequelae of LD are debilitating to patients and costly to society.

Arms & Interventions


Active Comparator: Tetracycline First

Tetracycline for first 3 months, placebo for second 3 months.

Placebo Comparator: Placebo First

Placebo for first 3 months, tetracycline for second 3 months.


Drug: - Tetracycline 500 Mg

500 mg three times daily

Other: - Placebo

Placebo for Tetracycline given same way as Tetracycline.

Contact a Trial Team

If you are interested in learning more about this trial, find the trial site nearest to your location and contact the site coordinator via email or phone. We also strongly recommend that you consult with your healthcare provider about the trials that may interest you and refer to our terms of service below.

Lutherville, Maryland



Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Research Center

Lutherville, Maryland, 21093