Intraarticular glucocorticoid injection as second-line treatment for Lyme arthritis in children

Daniel B. Horton, Alysha J. Taxter, Amy L. Davidow, Brandt P. Groh, David D. Sherry, Carlos D. Rose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Objective. To determine whether second-line intraarticular glucocorticoid (IAGC) injection improves outcomes in children with persistently active Lyme arthritis after initial antibiotics. Methods. We conducted an observational comparative effectiveness study through chart review within 3 pediatric rheumatology centers with distinct clinical approaches to second-line treatment of Lyme arthritis. We primarily compared children receiving second-line IAGC to children receiving a second course of antibiotics alone. We evaluated the risk of developing antibiotic-refractory Lyme arthritis (ARLA) using logistic regression and the time to clinical resolution of Lyme arthritis using Cox regression. Results. Of 112 children with persistently active Lyme arthritis after first-line antibiotics, 18 children received second-line IAGC (13 with concomitant oral antibiotics). Compared to children receiving second-line oral antibiotics alone, children treated with IAGC had similar baseline characteristics but lower rates of ARLA (17% vs 44%; OR 0.3, 95% CI 0.1–0.95; p = 0.04) and faster rates of clinical resolution (HR 2.2, 95% CI 1.2–3.9; p = 0.01). Children in IAGC and oral antibiotic cohorts did not differ in treatment-associated adverse events. Among children receiving second-line IAGC, outcomes appeared similar irrespective of use of concomitant antibiotics. Outcomes were also similar between intravenous (IV) and oral antibiotic-treated cohorts, but older children seemed to respond more favorably to IV therapy. IV antibiotics were also associated with higher rates of toxicity. Conclusion. IAGC injection appears to be an effective and safe second-line strategy for persistent Lyme arthritis in children, associated with rapid clinical resolution and reduced need for additional treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)952-959
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Rheumatology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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