Co-administration of α-lipoic acid and glutathione is associated with no significant changes in serum bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase or γ-glutamyltranspeptidase levels during the treatment of neuroborreliosis with intravenous ceftriaxone

Basant K. Puri, Jaana S. Hakkarainen-Smith 3 , Anne Derham 3 ,  and Jean A. Monro 3
  • 1 Department of Medicine, Imperial College London, London, UK
  • 2 Imaging Directorate, Block A, Level 1, Hammersmith Hospital, Du Cane Road, London W12 0HS, UK
  • 3 Breakspear Medical Group, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, UK
Basant K. Puri, Jaana S. Hakkarainen-Smith, Anne Derham and Jean A. Monro

Abstract

Background: While pharmacotherapy with intravenous ceftriaxone, a third-generation cephalosporin, is a potential treatment of Lyme neuroborreliosis, there is concern that it can cause the formation of biliary sludge, leading to hepatobiliary complications such as biliary colic, jaundice and cholelithiasis, which are reflected in changes in serum levels of bilirubin and markers of cholestatic liver injury (alkaline phosphatase and γ-glutamyltranspeptidase). It has been suggested that the naturally occurring substances α-lipoic acid and glutathione may be helpful in preventing hepatic disease. α-Lipoic acid exhibits antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic activities in the liver, while glutathione serves as a sulfhydryl buffer. The aim of this study was to determine whether co-administration of α-lipoic acid and glutathione is associated with significant changes in serum levels of bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase and γ-glutamyltranspeptidase during the treatment of Lyme neuroborreliosis with long-term intravenous ceftriaxone.

Methods: Serum levels of bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase and γ-glutamyltranspeptidase were measured in 42 serologically positive Lyme neuroborreliosis patients before and after long-term treatment with intravenous ceftriaxone (2–4 g daily) with co-administration of oral/intravenous α-lipoic acid (600 mg daily) and glutathione (100 mg orally or 0.6–2.4 g intravenously daily).

Results: None of the patients developed biliary colic and there were no significant changes in serum bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase or γ-glutamyltranspeptidase levels over the course of the intravenous ceftriaxone treatment (mean length 75.0 days).

Conclusions: Co-administration of α-lipoic acid and glutathione is associated with no significant changes in serum bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase or γ-glutamyltranspeptidase levels during the treatment of neuroborreliosis with intravenous ceftriaxone.

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The Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine focuses on evidence concerning the efficacy and safety of complementary and alternative medical (CAM) whole systems, practices, interventions and natural health products, including herbal medicines.

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