Pending Policies - Medicine


Intravenous Antibiotic Therapy and Associated Diagnostic Testing for Lyme Disease

Number:MED207.104

Effective Date:04-15-2018

Coverage:

*CAREFULLY CHECK STATE REGULATIONS AND/OR THE MEMBER CONTRACT*

Treatment of Lyme disease consists of oral antibiotics, except for the following indications:

Neurologic Manifestations of Lyme Disease (Neuroborreliosis)

A 2- to 4-week course of intravenous (IV) antibiotic therapy may be considered medically necessary in patients with neuroborreliosis with objective neurologic complications of documented Lyme disease (see the following for methods of documentation).

Objective neurologic findings include:

Lymphocytic meningitis with documented cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) abnormalities,

Cranial neuropathy, other than uncomplicated cranial nerve palsy, with documented CSF abnormalities,

Encephalitis or encephalomyelitis with documented CSF abnormalities,

Radiculopathy, or

Polyneuropathy.

NOTE: Lyme disease may be documented either on the basis of serologic testing or by clinical findings of erythema migrans in early infection. Documentation of CSF abnormalities is required for suspected central nervous system (CNS) infection, as indicated above.

Serologic documentation of infection requires:

Positive or indeterminate enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), AND

Positive immunoblot blot by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) criteria.

Documented CSF abnormalities include ALL of the following:

Pleocytosis; and

Evidence of intrathecal production of Borrelia (B) burgdorferi antibodies in CSF; and

Increased protein levels.

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) -based direct detection of B. burgdorferi in CSF samples may be considered medically necessary and may replace serologic documentation of infection in patients with a short duration of neurologic symptoms (<14 days) during the window between exposure and production of detectable antibodies.

Cardiac Manifestations of Lyme Disease

A single 2- to 4-week course of IV antibiotics may be considered medically necessary in patients with Lyme carditis, as evidenced by positive serologic findings (defined above) and associated with a high degree of atrioventricular (AV) block or a PR interval of greater than 0.3 second. Documentation of Lyme carditis may include PCR-based direct detection of B. burgdorferi in the blood when results of serologic studies are equivocal.

Lyme Arthritis

A single 2- to 4-week course of IV antibiotic therapy may be considered medically necessary in the small subset of patients with well-documented Lyme arthritis who have such severe arthritis that it requires the rapid response associated with IV antibiotics. Documentation of Lyme arthritis may include PCR-based direct detection of B. burgdorferi in the synovial tissue or fluid when results of serologic studies are equivocal.

Intravenous antibiotic therapy is considered not medically necessary in the following situations:

Patients with symptoms consistent with chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia, in the absence of objective clinical or laboratory evidence for Lyme disease;

Patients with seronegative Lyme disease in the absence of CSF antibodies;

Initial therapy in patients with Lyme arthritis without coexisting neurologic symptoms;

Cranial nerve palsy (e.g., Bell palsy) without clinical evidence of meningitis;

Antibiotic-refractory Lyme arthritis (unresponsive to 2 courses of oral antibiotics or to 1 course of oral and 1 course of intravenous antibiotic therapy);

Patients with vague systemic symptoms without supporting serologic or CSF studies;

Patients with a positive ELISA test, unconfirmed by an immunoblot or Western blot test (see definition above);

Patients with an isolated positive serologic test in the setting of multiple negative, serologic studies;

Patients with chronic (≥ 6 months) subjective symptoms (“post-Lyme syndrome”) after receiving recommended treatment regimens for documented Lyme disease;

Repeat or prolonged courses (e.g., >4 weeks).

All other diagnostic testing for Lyme disease is considered experimental investigational and/or unproven for all indications including but not limited to:

Repeat PCR-based direct detection of B. burgdorferi in the following situations:

o As a justification for continuation of IV antibiotics beyond 1 month in patients with persistent symptoms, or

o As a technique to follow therapeutic response.

PCR-based direct detection of B. burgdorferi in urine samples,

Genotyping or phenotyping of B. burgdorferi,

“Stand alone” C6 peptide ELISA, or

Determination of levels of the B lymphocyte chemoattractant CXCL13 for diagnosis or monitoring of treatment.

Description:

Lyme disease is a multisystem inflammatory disease caused by the spirochete Borrelia (B) burgdorferi and transmitted by the bite of an infected Ixodes scapularis (northeastern region) or Ixodes pacificus (Pacific coast, most often in Northern California) tick. The disease is characterized by stages, beginning with localized infection of the skin (erythema migrans), followed by acute dissemination, and then late dissemination to many sites. Manifestations of early disseminated disease may include lymphocytic meningitis, facial palsy, painful radiculoneuritis, atrioventricular (AV) block, or migratory musculoskeletal pain. Months to years later, the disease may be manifested by intermittent oligoarthritis; particularly involving the knee joint, chronic encephalopathy, spinal pain, or distal paresthesias. While most manifestations of Lyme disease can be adequately treated with oral antibiotics, intravenous (IV) antibiotics are indicated in some patients with neurologic involvement or AV block. The following paragraphs describe the various manifestations of Lyme disease, therapies, and the various laboratory tests used to support the diagnosis of Lyme disease.

Neurologic Manifestations of Lyme Disease (Neuroborreliosis)

Lymphocytic meningitis, characterized by head and neck pain, may occur during the acute disseminated stage of the disease. Analysis of the cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) is indispensable for the diagnosis of Lyme meningitis. If the patient has Lyme disease, the CSF will show a lymphocytic pleocytosis (lymphocyte count greater than normal) with increased levels of protein. Intrathecal production of antibodies directed at spirochetal antigens is typically present. A normal CSF analysis is strong evidence against Lyme meningitis. Usual treatment consists of 2 weeks of either oral (ambulatory setting) or IV (hospitalized patients) antibiotics.

Cranial neuritis, most frequently Bell palsy, may present early in the course of disseminated Lyme disease, occasionally before the development of antibodies, such that a Lyme disease etiology may be difficult to rule in or out. While Bell palsy typically resolves spontaneously with or without treatment with oral antibiotics, some physicians have recommended a lumbar puncture and a course of IV antibiotics if pleocytosis in the CSF is identified, primarily as a prophylactic measure to prevent further neurologic symptoms.

A subacute encephalopathy may occur months to years after disease onset, characterized by subtle disturbances in memory, mood, sleep, or cognition accompanied by fatigue. These symptoms may occur in the absence of abnormalities in the electroencephalogram, magnetic resonance imaging, or CSF. In addition, the symptoms are nonspecific and overlap with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Thus, diagnosis of Lyme encephalopathy may be difficult and may best be made with a mental status exam or neuropsychological testing. However, treatment with IV antibiotics is generally not indicated unless CSF abnormalities are identified.

Much rarer, but of greater concern, is the development of encephalomyelitis, characterized by spastic paraparesis, ataxias, cognitive impairment, bladder dysfunction, and cranial neuropathy. CSF examination reveals pleocytosis and elevated protein. Selective synthesis of anti-spirochetal antibodies can also be identified. A course of IV antibiotics with 3 to 4 weeks of ceftriaxone is suggested when CSF abnormalities are identified.

A variety of peripheral nervous system manifestations of Lyme disease have also been identified. Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include paresthesias, or radicular pain with only minimal sensory signs. Patients typically exhibit electromyographic or nerve conduction velocity abnormalities. CSF abnormalities are usually seen only in those patients with a coexistent encephalopathy.

Cardiac Manifestations of Lyme Disease

Lyme carditis may appear during the early disseminated stage of the disease; symptoms include AV block, tachyarrhythmias, and myopericarditis. Antibiotics are typically given, although no evidence has demonstrated hastened resolution of symptoms. Both oral and IV regimens have been advocated. Intravenous regimens are typically used in patients with a high degree AV block or a PR interval on the electrocardiogram of greater than 0.3 second. Patients with milder forms of carditis may be treated with oral antibiotics.

Lyme Arthritis

Lyme arthritis is a late manifestation of infection and is characterized by an elevated immunoglobulin G (IgG) response to B. burgdorferi and intermittent attacks of oligoarticular arthritis, primarily in the large joints such as the knee. Patients with Lyme arthritis may be successfully treated with a 30-day course of oral doxycycline or amoxicillin, but care must be taken to exclude simultaneous involvement, requiring IV antibiotic treatment. In the small subset of patients who do not respond to oral antibiotics, an additional 30-day course of oral or IV antibiotics may be recommended.

Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome are the diseases most commonly confused with Lyme disease. Fibromyalgia is characterized by musculoskeletal complaints, multiple trigger points, difficulty in sleeping, generalized fatigue, headache, or neck pain. The joint pain associated with fibromyalgia is typically diffuse, in contrast to Lyme arthritis, which is characterized by marked joint swelling in 1 or more joints at a time, with few systemic symptoms. Chronic fatigue syndrome is characterized by multiple subjective complaints, such as overwhelming fatigue, difficulty in concentration, and diffuse muscle and joint pain. In contrast with Lyme disease, both of these conditions lack joint inflammation, have normal neurologic test results, or have test results suggesting anxiety or depression. Neither fibromyalgia nor chronic fatigue syndrome has been shown to respond to antibiotic therapy.

Diagnostic Tests

Overview

The optimum method of testing for Lyme disease depends on the stage of the disease. Diagnostic testing may not be necessary when a diagnosis can be made clinically in patients with a recent tick bite or exposure and the presence of the characteristic rash of erythema migrans. While diagnosis of Lyme disease is generally based on the clinical picture and demonstration of specific antibodies, polymerase chain reaction (PCR)?based technology can detect the spirochete in the central nervous system (CNS) in cases of neuroborreliosis, in the synovial fluid of cases of Lyme arthritis, and rarely in skin biopsy specimens of those with atypical dermatologic manifestations. (1,2) However, while PCR-based tests can identify organisms in skin biopsy specimens of patients with dermatologic manifestations (i.e., erythema migrans), this diagnosis is typically made clinically and antibiotic therapy is started empirically.

Similarly, diagnosis of Lyme arthritis is based on clinical and serologic studies without the need for synovial tissue or fluid. Finally, intrathecal antibody production is considered a more sensitive test than PCR-based cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) detection in patients with suspected neuroborreliosis. PCR may be clinically useful as a second approach in patients with a short duration of neurologic symptoms (<14 days) during the window between exposure and the emergence of detectable levels of antibodies in the CSF. (3) PCR-based detection is typically not performed in the urine due to the variable presence of endogenous polymerase inhibitors that affect test sensitivity.

Serologic Tests

The antibody response to infection with B. burgdorferi follows a typical pattern. During the first few weeks after the initial onset of infection, there is no antibody production. The specific immunoglobulin M (IgM) response characteristic of acute infection, peaks between the third and the sixth week. The specific IgG response develops only after months and includes antibodies to a variety of spirochetal antigens. IgG antibodies produced in response to Lyme disease may persist for months or years. Thus, detection of IgG antibodies only indicates exposure, either past or present. In Lyme disease, endemic areas, underlying asymptomatic seropositivity may range up to 5% to 10%. Thus, as with any laboratory test, interpretation of serologic tests requires close correlation with the patient’s signs and symptoms. For example, patients with vague symptoms of Lyme disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, or fibromyalgia may undergo multiple serologic tests over many weeks to months in an effort to establish the diagnosis of Lyme disease. Inevitably, in this setting of repeat testing, 1 enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) or test, whether IgG or IgM, may be reported as weakly positive or indeterminate. These results most likely represent false-positive test results in the uninfected patient who has had long-standing symptoms from a different condition and previously negative test results.

Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend a 2-tiered method for the serologic diagnosis of Lyme disease: 1) ELISA or immunofluorescence assay (IFA), followed by 2) a confirmatory Western blot (including both IgM and IgG when signs or symptoms have been present ≤30 days; IgG only if for symptoms >30 days). A negative ELISA or IFA may be followed by a later (e.g., in 4 to 6 weeks) convalescent serum test when symptoms have been present 30 days or less.

ELISA for B. burgdorferi Antibodies

This test is a screening serologic test for Lyme disease. ELISA tests are available to detect IgM or IgG antibodies or both antibody types together. More recently developed tests using recombinant or synthetic antigens have improved diagnostic sensitivity. For example, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration?approved C6 ELISA is highly sensitive to infection and is under study as an indicator of antibiotic therapy efficacy. A positive or indeterminate ELISA test result alone is inadequate serologic evidence of Lyme disease. All of these tests must be confirmed with a Western blot test. In addition, results must be correlated with the clinical picture.

(Western) Immunoblot

This test is used to confirm the serologic diagnosis of Lyme disease in patients with positive or indeterminate ELISA tests. In contrast with the standard ELISA test, the immunoblot investigates the specific antibody response to the different antigens of B. burgdorferi. Typically, several clinically significant antigens are tested. According to CDC criteria, the test result is considered positive if 2 of the 3 most common IgM antibody bands to spirochetal antigens are present, or 5 of the 10 most frequent IgG antibody bands are present. Because CDC criteria were developed for surveillance, they are conservative and may miss true Lyme disease cases. Some support the use of more liberal criteria for a positive result in clinical diagnosis; however, alternative criteria have not been well-validated. U.S. criteria for interpreting immunoblot results differ from those in Europe due to differences in prevalent Borrelia species causing disease.

Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)

In contrast to the previously discussed serologic tests, which indirectly assess prior or present exposure to B. burgdorferi, PCR directly tests for the presence of the spirochete. Because PCR technology involves amplification of DNA from a portion of B. burgdorferi, there is a high risk of exogenous contamination, resulting in false-positive results. Positive results in the absence of clear clinical indicators or positive serology are not definitive for diagnosis. In addition, the test cannot distinguish between live spirochetes or fragments of dead ones. The PCR technique has been studied using a variety of specimens. PCR has the best detection rates for skin biopsies from patients with erythema migrans (but may not be indicated with recent history of tick bite or exposure) and for synovial tissue (and synovial fluid, to a lesser extent) from patients with Lyme arthritis. CSF may be positive by PCR during the first 2 weeks of infection, but thereafter the detection rate is low. PCR is not recommended for urine or blood specimens. However, PCR-based direct detection of B. burgdorferi in the blood may be useful for documenting Lyme carditis when results of serologic studies are equivocal.

Borrelia PCR also provides information on which of the 3 major species pathogenic for humans has been found in the specimen tested (genotyping).

T-Cell Proliferative Assay

T-lymphocyte proliferation assays are not recommended as diagnostic tests, as they are difficult to perform and standardize, and their sensitivity is not well characterized.

Evaluation of Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF)

Aside from the standard evaluation of CSF for pleocytosis, protein levels, and glucose levels, various tests are available to determine whether anti-B. burgdorferi antibodies are being selectively produced within the central nervous system (CNS). Techniques include a variety of immunoassays. For example, intrathecal antibody production can be detected by the CSF/serum index of B. burgdorferi antibodies. CSF and serum samples diluted to match the total IgG concentration in CSF are run in parallel in an IgG ELISA. Excess Borrelia specific antibody in CSF indicates a positive result. As noted, PCR can also be used to detect the spirochete in the CSF, most successfully within the first 2 weeks of infection.

Evaluation of the Chemoattractant CXCL13

CXCL13 is a B-lymphocyte chemoattractant and has been reported to be elevated in acute neuroborreliosis and a potential marker for successful treatment.

Treatment of Lyme Disease

As previously noted, treatment with IV antibiotics is generally indicated only in patients with symptoms and laboratory findings consistent with CNS or peripheral neurologic involvement and in a small subset of patients with heart block or documented Lyme arthritis who have not responded to oral antibiotics. Typical IV therapy consists of a 2- to 4-week course of ceftriaxone or cefotaxime or penicillin. No data suggest that prolonged or repeated courses of IV antibiotics are effective. Lack of effect should suggest an incorrect diagnosis or slow resolution of symptoms, which is commonly seen in Lyme disease. In addition, some symptoms may persist after treatment, such as Lyme arthritis; this phenomenon may be related to various self-sustaining inflammatory mechanisms rather than persistent infection.

Regulatory Status

Clinical laboratories may develop and validate tests in-house and market them as a laboratory service; laboratory-developed tests (LDTs) must meet the general regulatory standards of the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act (CLIA). Laboratory testing for Lyme disease is available under the auspices of CLIA. Laboratories that offer LDTs must be licensed by CLIA for high-complexity testing. As of 2014, there were at least 70 approved commercial laboratories that perform serologic testing for Lyme disease. (4) To date, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has chosen not to require any regulatory review of this test.

Rationale:

This policy was originally created in 1990 and has been updated regularly with searches of the MEDLINE database. The most recent literature review was performed through August 25, 2016. The following is a summary of the key literature to date.

Analysis of Borrelia Burgdorferi Genotype

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based technology has been used as 1 step in the genotypic analysis of Borrelia (B) burgdorferi. B. burgdorferi was originally characterized as a single species (B. burgdorferi sensu lato), but genotypic analysis has revealed that this group represents 4 distinct species and genomic groups. Of these, the following have been isolated from patients with Lyme disease: B. burgdorferi sensu stricto, B. garinii, B. afzelii, and B. bavariensis. The prevalence of these genospecies may vary among populations and may be associated with different clinical manifestations. (5) However, no data were found in the published literature regarding whether or how knowledge of the genotype or phenotype of B. burgdorferi could be used to improve patient management and outcomes. In the United States, B. burgdorferi sensu stricto and B. mayonii (6) are the only human pathogenic species, but in Europe, all 4 species cause infection. In 2007, B. spielmanii, was found in a small number of European patients; therefore, criteria for interpreting immunoblot results differ in Europe than in the United States. (7)

Section Summary: Analysis of Borrelia Burgdorferi Genotype

No data were found in the published literature regarding whether or how knowledge of the genotype or phenotype of B. burgdorferi could be used to improve patient management and outcomes.

Chemokine CXCL13 and C6 Peptide

CXCL13 is a B-lymphocyte chemoattractant that has been reported to be elevated in acute neuroborreliosis, (8) thus it is a potential marker for successful treatment. However, data are limited.

Other diagnostic testing strategies, such as enzyme immunoassay (EIA) using the C6 peptide, have not demonstrated improvements in specificity over the 2-tiered testing approach. (2, 9)

Branda et al. (2011) reported on the use of whole-cell sonicate EIA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay [ELISA]) followed by C6 EIA and found the specificity and positive predictive values were comparable with the 2-tiered ELISA-Western blot approach (99.5% vs 98.4%, and 70% vs 66%, both respectively). (9) Lipsett et al. (2016) evaluated C6 EIA in 944 children of whom 114 (12%) had Lyme disease. (10) They found stand-alone C6 EIA testing had lower specificity than 2-tiered testing (94.2% vs 98.8%); specificity was increased to 98.6% with a supplemental immunoblot. A 2016 systematic review of diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease also concluded that “stand-alone” C6 testing is not recommended over the 2-tiered approach due to slightly lower specificity. (11)

Section Summary: Chemokine CXCL13 and C6 peptide

Data on the determination of CXCL13 levels in patients suspected of having Lyme disease is limited. Additional research is necessary to determine diagnostic and treatment utility. Stand-alone C6 testing is not recommended over the 2-tier approach.

Role of Intravenous or Prolonged Oral Antibiotic Therapy

The evidence generally does not support persistent B. burgdorferi infection in patients with well documented infection who have received recommended antibiotic therapy. (12) Blinded, randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of extended antibiotic therapy versus placebo in such patients have shown no consistent differences in outcomes (summarized in the Table 1).

While morphologic variants of B. burgdorferi are thought to be related to persistent Lyme disease symptoms, a 2014 systematic review by Lantos et al. found no evidence to support this. (13) The reviewers found no pathogenic relation between morphologic variants of B. burgdorferi and persistent symptoms of Lyme disease. Additionally, no literature was identified that would support a role for treatment of B. burgdorferi morphologic variants.

Section Summary: Role of Intravenous or Prolonged Oral Antibiotic Therapy

Oral antibiotics usually are adequate for treatment of Lyme disease, though in some persistent cases, a 2- to 4-week course of intravenous (IV) antibiotics may be appropriate. Evidence from RCTs has not shown a benefit to prolonged (>4 weeks) or repeat courses of oral or IV antibiotics.

Table 1. Summary of Randomized Controlled Trials of Prolonged Antibiotic Therapy in Patients with Well-Documented, Previously Treated Lyme Disease

Study

N

Patient Description

Experimental Treatment

Control Treatment

Results

Klempner et al. (2001) (14)

78

51

(1) Positive for IgG to B. burgdorferi, persistent symptoms that interfered with patient function

(2) Negative for IgG to B. burgdorferi, else, as above

IV ceftriaxone daily for 30 days, oral doxycycline for 60 days

IV and oral placebos

No significant difference in QOL outcomes for 1 and 2. Studies terminated after interim analyses indicated that it was highly unlikely that a significant difference in treatment efficacy would be observed.

Kaplan et al. (2003) (15)

129

Same trial as Klempner et al. (2001) (14)

Both treatment and control arms showed similar and not significantly different decreases in SF-36 cognitive, pain, and role functioning scales; and improved mood as assessed with BDI and MMPI.

Krupp et al. (2003) (16)

55

Patients with persistent severe fatigue of duration ≥6 months

IV ceftriaxone daily for 28 days

IV placebo

Ceftriaxone treatment arm showed no significant improvement in primary outcome of laboratory measure of persistent infection. Significant improvement in secondary outcome of disabling fatigue; no significant treatment effect on cognitive function; no difference in change in SF-36 scores. Patients in ceftriaxone group were significantly more likely to correctly identify their treatment assignment.

Oksi et al. (2007) (17)

152

Consecutive patients treated with standard antibiotic regimen for 21 days

Amoxicillin twice daily for 100 days starting immediately after standard regimen

Placebo twice daily for 100 days starting immediately after standard regimen

Both treatment and control arms showed similar and not significantly different decreases in patient and investigator VAS outcomes (VAS evaluation of symptoms, range, 0-100; 0=no symptoms) at 12 mo. B. burgdorferi-specific antibodies declined similarly in both groups over 12 mo.

Fallon et al. (2008) (18)

37

Patients with documented objective memory impairment

IV ceftriaxone daily for 70 days

IV placebo daily for 70 days

Primary outcome of cognitive function across 6 domains similarly improved in both groups at week 24 and not significantly different between groups; improvement between groups marginally significantly different at week 12 (p=0.05). Exploratory subgroup analyses suggested significantly better improvement in ceftriaxone-treated patients with more severe baseline pain and physical functioning.

Cameron (2008) (19)

86

Patients with symptoms of arthralgia, cardiac or neurologic involvement with or without fatigue after previous successful antibiotic treatment of Lyme disease; study conducted in a primary care internal medicine practice (52 assigned, 31 evaluable)

Oral amoxicillin 3 grams daily for 3 months (34 assigned, 17 evaluable)

Oral placebo daily for 3 months

44% of enrolled patients not evaluable at 6 months; 17 had poorer baseline QOL and were lost due to treatment failure

SF-36 improvements for antibiotic versus placebo arm were significant (46% versus 18%, p=0.007), but not clear whether analysis included all or only evaluable patients

SF-36 PCS improvement did not differ significantly between treatment arms for evaluable patients (8.5 versus 7)

SF-36 MCS significantly improved in antibiotic arm for evaluable patients (14.4 versus 6.2, p=0.04).

Berende et al. (2016) (20)

280

Patients with persistent Lyme disease symptoms given IV ceftriaxone for 2 weeks

Doxycycline or clarithromycin

/hydroxyl- chloroquine for 12 weeks

Placebo

SF-36 PCS did not differ between 3 study groups

Adverse event rates similar across 3 study groups

4 serious ceftriaxone-related adverse events

BDI: Beck Depression Inventory; IgG: immunoglobulin G; IV: intravenous; MCS: Mental Component Summary; MMPI: Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory; PCS: Physical Component Summary; QOL: quality of life; SF-36: 36- Item Short-Form Health Survey; VAS: visual analog scale.

Summary of Evidence

For individuals who are suspected of having Lyme disease who receive genotyping or phenotyping of Borrelia (B) burgdorferi subspecies or are tested for determination of CXCL13 levels or C6 peptide assay, the evidence is limited. Relevant outcomes are test accuracy, change in disease status, and morbid events. Polymerase-chain reaction (PCR) -based testing for B. burgdorferi genospecies is feasible. However, no evidence was identified that knowledge of the genotype or phenotype of B. burgdorferi could be used to improve patient management and outcomes. Additional research is necessary to determine diagnostic utility of CXCL13 and C6 peptide levels. The evidence is insufficient to determine the effects of the technology on health outcomes.

For individuals with confirmed Lyme disease who receive prolonged or repeated courses of antibiotic therapy, the evidence includes randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Relevant outcomes are symptoms, change in disease status, morbid events, and health status measures.

Oral antibiotics usually are adequate for treatment of Lyme disease, though, in some persistent cases, a 2- to 4-week course of intravenous (IV) antibiotics may be appropriate. Evidence from RCTs has not shown a benefit to prolonged (>4 weeks) or repeat courses of oral or IV antibiotics. The evidence is sufficient to determine that the technology is unlikely to improve the net health outcome.

Practice Guidelines and Position Statements

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently recommends a 2-tier process when testing blood for evidence of antibodies against the Lyme disease bacteria. Both steps can be done using the same blood sample. (21) The first step uses a testing procedure called enzyme immunoassay (EIA) or rarely, an indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA). If this first step is negative, no further testing of the specimen is recommended. If the first step is positive or indeterminate (sometimes called "equivocal"), the second step should be performed. The second step uses an immunoblot test, commonly, a Western blot test. Results are considered positive only if the EIA or IFA and the immunoblot are both positive. CDC does not recommend skipping the first test and just doing the Western blot. Doing so will increase the frequency of false-positive results and may lead to misdiagnosis and improper treatment. New tests may be developed as alternatives to one or both steps of the 2-tier process. Before CDC recommends new tests, test performance must be demonstrated to be equal to or better than the results of the existing procedure, and they must be FDA approved.

American College of Rheumatology et al.

In 1993, the American College of Rheumatology and Council of the Infectious Diseases Society of America published a position paper on IV antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease, which concluded that “empiric treatment of patients with nonspecific chronic fatigue or myalgia on the basis of positive serologic results alone will result in many more instances of antibiotic toxicity than cures of atypically symptomatic true Lyme disease.... In patients whose only evidence for Lyme disease is a positive immunologic test, the risks for empiric IV antibiotic treatment outweigh the benefits….” (22) Other studies have also supported the use of oral, not IV, antibiotics in patients with Lyme disease without neurologic involvement. (23-25)

Infectious Diseases Society of America

Practice guidelines on the treatment of Lyme disease, and including discussion of supportive evidence, were issued by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) in 2006 and reaffirmed in 2010. (26)

National Guideline Clearinghouse

In January 2016, the National Guideline Clearinghouse (NGC) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services removed the IDSA guidelines on Lyme disease. NGC explained that IDSA guidelines were outdated, because there had been no review or revision in 5 years. (27)

European Federation of Neurological Societies

The 2010 European Federation of Neurological Societies (EFNS) guidelines on Lyme neuroborreliosis are similar to the IDSA guidelines and recommend a 14-day course of oral or IV antibiotics in definite or possible acute Lyme neuroborreliosis. (28) In patients with late Lyme neuroborreliosis, a 3-week course of IV antibiotics is recommended. The EFNS guidelines indicate antibiotic use for post-Lyme disease syndrome has shown no effect.

British Infection Association

Similar recommendations can be found in the 2011 British Infection Association’s (BIA) position statement on Lyme disease, which indicates IV antibiotics may be appropriate in Lyme carditis, meningitis, or arthritis for periods of 14 to 21 days. (29) Late neuroborreliosis can be treated with IV antibiotics for 14 to 28 days. BIA’s position statement also notes the use of long-term antibiotics can be harmful.

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence

Guidelines on Lyme disease from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) are in development. Expected publication date is June 2018. (30)

International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society

The International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) published guidelines in 2014 to address 3 clinical questions: usefulness of antibiotic prophylaxis of tick bites, effectiveness of erythema migrans (EM) treatment, and antibiotic retreatment in patients with persistent symptoms. (31) ILADS noted that the evidence on treatment of tick bites, EM rashes, and persistent manifestations is limited. Regarding the treatment of patients with persistent symptoms, the ILADS panel concluded that the evidence for retreatment is adequate to support retreatment, but is not strong enough to mandate treatment. The panel determined that there was no compelling evidence supporting withholding antibiotics from symptomatic patients, especially since there is a lack of alternative treatment options. Due to the number of clinical variables and the heterogeneity of the patient population, clinical judgment and patients’ values and goals should be considered when planning a treatment strategy.

Ongoing and Unpublished Clinical Trials

Some currently unpublished trials that might influence this review are listed in Table 2.

Table 2. Summary of Key Trials

NCT No.

Trial Name

Planned Enrollment

Completion Date

Ongoing

NCT01163994

Comparison of Ceftriaxone and Doxycycline for Treatment of Multiple Erythema Migrans

500

Oct 2016

Unpublished

NCT01635530

Study of Lyme Neuroborreliosis: Epidemiology, Manifestations, Diagnostics and Treatment

150

May 2016 (unknown)

NCT: national clinical trial.

Contract:

Each benefit plan, summary plan description or contract defines which services are covered, which services are excluded, and which services are subject to dollar caps or other limitations, conditions or exclusions. Members and their providers have the responsibility for consulting the member's benefit plan, summary plan description or contract to determine if there are any exclusions or other benefit limitations applicable to this service or supply. If there is a discrepancy between a Medical Policy and a member's benefit plan, summary plan description or contract, the benefit plan, summary plan description or contract will govern.

Coding:

CODING:

Disclaimer for coding information on Medical Policies

Procedure and diagnosis codes on Medical Policy documents are included only as a general reference tool for each policy. They may not be all-inclusive.

The presence or absence of procedure, service, supply, device or diagnosis codes in a Medical Policy document has no relevance for determination of benefit coverage for members or reimbursement for providers. Only the written coverage position in a medical policy should be used for such determinations.

Benefit coverage determinations based on written Medical Policy coverage positions must include review of the member’s benefit contract or Summary Plan Description (SPD) for defined coverage vs. non-coverage, benefit exclusions, and benefit limitations such as dollar or duration caps.

CPT/HCPCS/ICD-9/ICD-10 Codes

The following codes may be applicable to this Medical policy and may not be all inclusive.

CPT Codes

0041U, 0042U, 0043U, 0044U, 84181, 86617, 86618, 87475, 87476, [Deleted 1/2018: 87477]

HCPCS Codes

None

ICD-9 Diagnosis Codes

Refer to the ICD-9-CM manual

ICD-9 Procedure Codes

Refer to the ICD-9-CM manual

ICD-10 Diagnosis Codes

Refer to the ICD-10-CM manual

ICD-10 Procedure Codes

Refer to the ICD-10-CM manual


Medicare Coverage:

The information contained in this section is for informational purposes only. HCSC makes no representation as to the accuracy of this information. It is not to be used for claims adjudication for HCSC Plans.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) does not have a national Medicare coverage position. Coverage may be subject to local carrier discretion.

A national coverage position for Medicare may have been developed since this medical policy document was written. See Medicare's National Coverage at <http://www.cms.hhs.gov>.

References:

1. Steere AC. Lyme disease. N Engl J Med. Jul 12 2001; 345(2):115-125. PMID 11450660

2. Institute of Medicine (IOM). Critical Needs and Gaps in Understanding: Prevention, Amelioration, and Resolution of Lyme and Other Tick- Borne Diseases: The Short-Term and Long-Term Outcomes: Workshop Report (2011). Available at <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov> (accessed - 2016 September 22).

3. Situm M, Poje G, Grahovac B, et al. Diagnosis of Lyme borreliosis by polymerase chain reaction. Clin Dermatol. Mar-Apr 2002; 20(2):147-155. PMID 11973049

4. DeBiasi RL. A concise critical analysis of serologic testing for the diagnosis of lyme disease. Curr Infect Dis Rep. Dec 2014; 16(12):450. PMID 25351855

5. Oksi J, Marjamaki M, Nikoskelainen J, et al. Borrelia burgdorferi detected by culture and PCR in clinical relapse of disseminated Lyme borreliosis. Ann Med. Jun 1999; 31(3):225-232. PMID 10442678

6. Pritt BS, Mead PS, Johnson DK, et al. Identification of a novel pathogenic Borrelia species causing Lyme borreliosis with unusually high spirochaetaemia: a descriptive study. Lancet Infect Dis. Feb 5 2016; 16(5):556-564. PMID 26856777

7. Wilske B, Fingerle V, Schulte-Spechtel U. Microbiological and serological diagnosis of Lyme borreliosis. FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. Feb 2007; 49(1):13-21. PMID 17266710

8. Hytonen J, Kortela E, Waris M, et al. CXCL13 and neopterin concentrations in cerebrospinal fluid of patients with Lyme neuroborreliosis and other diseases that cause neuroinflammation. J Neuroinflammation. 2014; 11:103. PMID 24920219

9. Branda JA, Linskey K, Kim YA, et al. Two-tiered antibody testing for Lyme disease with use of 2 enzyme immunoassays, a whole-cell sonicate enzyme immunoassay followed by a VlsE C6 peptide enzyme immunoassay. Clin Infect Dis. Sep 2011; 53(6):541-547. PMID 21865190

10. Lipsett SC, Branda JA, McAdam AJ, et al. Evaluation of the C6 Lyme Enzyme immunoassay for the diagnosis of lyme disease in children and adolescents. Clin Infect Dis. Oct 1 2016; 63(7):922-928. PMID 27358358

11. Sanchez E, Vannier E, Wormser GP, et al. Diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of Lyme disease, human granulocytic anaplasmosis, and babesiosis: a review. JAMA. Apr 26 2016; 315(16):1767-1777. PMID 27115378

12. Halperin JJ, Shapiro ED, Logigian E, et al. Practice parameter: treatment of nervous system Lyme disease (an evidence-based review): report of the Quality Standards Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology. Neurology. Jul 3 2007; 69(1):91-102. PMID 17522387

13. Lantos PM, Auwaerter PG, Wormser GP. A Systematic Review of Borrelia burgdorferi morphologic variants does not support a role in chronic Lyme disease. Clin Infect Dis. Mar 2014; 58(5):663-671. PMID 24336823

14. Klempner MS, Hu LT, Evans J, et al. Two controlled trials of antibiotic treatment in patients with persistent symptoms and a history of Lyme disease. N Engl J Med. Jul 12 2001; 345(2):85-92. PMID 11450676

15. Kaplan RF, Trevino RP, et al. Cognitive function in post-treatment Lyme disease: do additional antibiotics help? Neurology. Jun 24 2003; 60(12):1916-1922. PMID 12821733

16. Krupp LB, Hyman LG, Grimson R, et al. Study and treatment of post Lyme disease (STOP-LD): a randomized double masked clinical trial. Neurology. Jun 24 2003; 60(12):1923-1930. PMID 12821734

17. Oksi J, Nikoskelainen J, Hiekkanen H, et al. Duration of antibiotic treatment in disseminated Lyme borreliosis: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, multicenter clinical study. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. Aug 2007; 26(8):571-581. PMID 17587070

18. Fallon BA, Keilp JG, Corbera KM, et al. A randomized, placebo-controlled trial of repeated IV antibiotic therapy for Lyme encephalopathy. Neurology. Mar 25 2008; 70(13):992-1003. PMID 17928580

19. Cameron D. Severity of Lyme disease with persistent symptoms. Insights from a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Minerva Med. Oct 2008; 99(5):489-496. PMID 18971914

20. Berende A, ter Hofstede HJ, Vos FJ, et al. Randomized trial of longer-term therapy for symptoms attributed to Lyme disease. N Engl J Med. Mar 31 2016; 374(13):1209-1220. PMID 27028911

21. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Lyme Disease: Two-step laboratory testing process (2015). Available at < http://www.cdc.gov> (accessed - 2016 September 19).

22. Appropriateness of parenteral antibiotic treatment for patients with presumed Lyme disease. A joint statement of the American College of Rheumatology and the Council of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Ann Intern Med. Sep 15 1993; 119(6):518. PMID 8357119

23. Dattwyler RJ, Luft BJ, Kunkel MJ, et al. Ceftriaxone compared with doxycycline for the treatment of acute disseminated Lyme disease. N Engl J Med. Jul 31 1997; 337(5):289-294. PMID 9233865

24. Eckman MH, Steere AC, Kalish RA, et al. Cost effectiveness of oral as compared with intravenous antibiotic therapy for patients with early Lyme disease or Lyme arthritis. N Engl J Med. Jul 31 1997; 337(5):357-363. PMID 9233874

25. Wormser GP, Ramanathan R, Nowakowski J, et al. Duration of antibiotic therapy for early Lyme disease. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Ann Intern Med. May 6 2003; 138(9):697-704. PMID 12729423

26. Wormser GP, Dattwyler RJ, Shapiro ED, et al. The clinical assessment, treatment, and prevention of Lyme disease, human granulocytic anaplasmosis, and babesiosis: clinical practice guidelines by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Clin Infect Dis. Nov 1 2006; 43(9):1089-1134. PMID 17029130

27. Lyme Disease Association (LDA). Official word on Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) guidelines' removal from National Guidelines Clearing House (NGC) (2016). Available at <https://www.lymediseaseassociation.org> (accessed - 2016 September 19).

28. Mygland A, Ljostad U, Fingerle V, et al. EFNS guidelines on the diagnosis and management of European Lyme neuroborreliosis. Eur J Neurol. Jan 2010; 17(1):8-16, e11-14. PMID 19930447

29. British Infection Association. The epidemiology, prevention, investigation and treatment of Lyme borreliosis in United Kingdom patients: a position statement by the British Infection Association. J Infect. May 2011; 62(5):329-338. PMID 21421007

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31. Cameron DJ, Johnson LB, Maloney EL. Evidence assessments and guideline recommendations in Lyme disease: the clinical management of known tick bites, erythema migrans rashes and persistent disease. Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. Sep 2014; 12(9):1103-1135. PMID 25077519

32. Intravenous Antibiotic Therapy and Associated Diagnostic Testing for Lyme disease Chicago, Illinois: Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Medical Policy Reference Manual (2016 October) Prescription Drug 5.01.08.

Policy History:

Date Reason
4/15/2018 Reviewed. No changes.
7/15/2017 Document updated with literature review. The following editorial change was made to Coverage: “Stand alone” was added to bullet regarding C6 peptide ELISA for clarification.
2/15/2016 Reviewed. No changes.
7/1/2015 Document updated with literature review. The following was removed from the coverage section as the vaccine is no longer marketed: “Administration of the Lyme disease vaccine, recombinant OspA, may be considered medically necessary if the patient is between 15 to 70 years of age and lives or works in a grassy or wooded area where ticks may be present that may be harboring the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi (B. burgdorferi).” Otherwise coverage unchanged. Title changed from Lyme Disease (Borrelia Burgdorferi) Management.
6/15/2014 Document updated with literature review. The following statement was added to the experimental, investigational, and/or unproven coverage position: “All other diagnostic testing for Lyme disease are considered experimental, investigational and/or unproven including but not limited to…” and the following were added to the listing of experimental, investigational, and/or unproven indications: C6 peptide ELISA and Determination of levels of the B lymphocyte chemoattractant CXCL13 for diagnosis or monitoring treatment.
5/1/2011 Document updated with literature review. The following changes were made: 1) The “detection and diagnostic testing” section of coverage was removed, and the testing criteria are now included with the treatment criteria; 2) Specific IgG and IgM titer amounts were removed, and the CDC recommendations for the ELISA and Immunoblot tests were moved to the Description section; 3) The criteria for documentation of early skin lesions and arthritis were removed; 4) The following was added as not medically necessary: Patients with chronic (>6 months) subjective symptoms (“post-Lyme syndrome”) after receiving recommended treatment regimens for documented Lyme disease; Bell’s palsy without clinical evidence of meningitis; Antibiotic-refractory Lyme arthritis; 5) The following was added as experimental, investigational and unproven: Immunofluorescent staining for cell wall-deficient forms of B burgdorferi, and lymphocyte transformation tests.
8/15/2008 Revised/updated entire document.
7/15/2006 Revised/updated entire document.
6/1/1999 Revised/updated entire document.
2/1/1996 Revised/updated entire document.
4/1/1994 Revised/updated entire document.
5/1/1990 New medical document

Archived Document(s):

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