Gonorrhea resistant to all but one antibiotic: CDC

August 9, 2012 By Amanda Gardner, HealthDay Reporter
Gonorrhea resistant to all but one antibiotic: CDC
Agency issues new guidelines: Rocephin should be first-line treatment.

(HealthDay) -- With options shrinking to a single antibiotic that can fight resistant strains of gonorrhea, U.S. health authorities issued revised guidelines for treating the sexually transmitted bacteria on Thursday.

The U.S. now recommends that the injectable antibiotic Rocephin (ceftriaxone) be the first-line treatment for this sexually transmitted disease, supplanting Suprax (cefixime).

Rocephin should be used in combination with one of two : or doxycycline, the CDC stated in the guidelines published in the Aug. 10 issue of the .

Strains of that are resistant to Suprax have increased globally.

"We are very concerned about the possibility of the potential for untreatable gonorrhea," said Dr. Robert Kirkcaldy, a medical epidemiologist with the CDC's Division of STD Prevention. "Facing this threat of , the CDC is taking the critical step to preserve the last remaining drug that we know to be effective. We're hoping that the actions taken now will prevent that from becoming a reality."

Another expert agreed with the decision. "The risk of organisms becoming completely resistant will be a lot less [with the combination of two drugs] than if we're just doing one treatment," said Dr. Greg Ward, an assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology and women's health at Saint Louis University, in St. Louis. "Two antibiotics confuses the organism a little bit so . . . this should slow the progression of resistance."

Neisseria is a particularly "crafty" bacteria which has progressively become resistant to every antibiotic used against it since the 1930s, Kirkcaldy said.

These include sulfonamides, penicillin, tetracycline and, in the 2000s, fluoroquinolones.

In 2007, the CDC recommended abandoning fluoroquinolones as a first-line treatment, thus leaving cephalosporins, which include Suprax and Rocephin, as the only class of antibiotics available to effectively combat gonorrhea.

By limiting use of cephalosporins to just Rocephin, it's hoped that gonorrhea will not develop resistance to all drugs in the class.

Although rates of gonorrhea are at historic lows, Kirkcaldy said, it is still the second most commonly recorded infection with more than 700,000 new U.S. cases annually.

Symptoms can include burning when urinating or a discharge from the penis or the vagina. But too often, gonorrhea produces no symptoms at all.

"If left untreated, gonorrhea can result in severe reproductive health consequences including chronic pelvic pain, potentially life-threatening ectopic pregnancy and infertility," Kirkcaldy said. "We also know that having this infection can increase risk of acquiring or transmitting HIV."

The new recommendations also call for all patients to undergo a "test of cure" to ensure that the infection is fully resolved. That means all patients receiving treatment will need to make another office visit, Ward said.

In the past, the test of cure was only done on pregnant women, he added.

To prevent transmission of gonorrhea, individuals should also follow safe-sex practices, such as using condoms. Noting that abstinence and monogamy are the greatest protective measures, the CDC said that groups at greatest risk -- sexually active gay and bisexual men and high-risk sexually active women -- should be tested for gonorrhea at least once a year.

Kirkcaldy also called on drug makers to "step up quickly and boldly to invest in new drugs" to fight gonorrhea.

Explore further: Scientists discover first gonorrhea strain resistant to all available antibiotics

More information: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on gonorrhea.


Related Stories

Scientists discover first gonorrhea strain resistant to all available antibiotics

July 11, 2011
An international research team has discovered a strain of gonorrhea resistant to all currently available antibiotics. This new strain is likely to transform a common and once easily treatable infection into a global threat ...

Rise of antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea needs urgent action

September 19, 2011
Gonorrhea is evolving into a scourge resistant to most antibiotics, and urgent action is needed to combat this public health threat, states an editorial in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Gonorrhea sex bug growing resistant to drugs, WHO warns (Update)

June 6, 2012
(AP) — A sexually transmitted disease that infects millions of people each year is growing resistant to drugs and could soon become untreatable, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.

Scientists sound alarm over threat of untreatable gonorrhea in United States

February 9, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- Researchers are continuing to sound the alarm on the growing threat of multi-drug resistant gonorrhea in the United States, according to a perspective  in the Feb. 9 issue of the New England Journal ...

Researchers identify novel pathway responsible for infection of a common STD pathogen

February 27, 2012
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have for the first time identified a novel pathway that is necessary for infection to occur with the pathogen Neisseria gonorrhoeae, which is responsible for the ...

Recommended for you

Anti-malaria drug shows promise as Zika virus treatment

November 17, 2017
A new collaborative study led by researchers at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) and UC San Diego School of Medicine has found that a medication used to prevent and treat malaria may also be effective ...

Decrease in sunshine, increase in Rickets

November 17, 2017
A University of Toronto student and professor have teamed up to discover that Britain's increasing cloudiness during the summer could be an important reason for the mysterious increase in Rickets among British children over ...

Scientists identify biomarkers that indicate likelihood of survival in infected patients

November 17, 2017
Scientists have identified a set of biomarkers that indicate which patients infected with the Ebola virus are most at risk of dying from the disease.

Research team unlocks secrets of Ebola

November 16, 2017
In a comprehensive and complex molecular study of blood samples from Ebola patients in Sierra Leone, published today (Nov. 16, 2017) in Cell Host and Microbe, a scientific team led by the University of Wisconsin-Madison has ...

Study raises possibility of naturally acquired immunity against Zika virus

November 16, 2017
Birth defects in babies born infected with Zika virus remain a major health concern. Now, scientists suggest the possibility that some women in high-risk Zika regions may already be protected and not know it.

A structural clue to attacking malaria's 'Achilles heel'

November 16, 2017
Researchers from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) and PATH's Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI) have shed light on how the human immune system recognizes the malaria parasite though investigation of antibodies generated ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Osiris1
not rated yet Aug 09, 2012
Ok, all republicans take notice, you may have to start using condoms when exploiting your servants, employees, co-workers, patients, etc....and that ex senator from Idaho had better take care in airport washrooms too.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.