CDC warns of waning effect of gonorrhea treatment, referring to the antibiotic cefixime used to treat the sexually transmitted disease. The CDC report is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
According to the newly released CDC report, in the time period 2011-2013 there was a spike in antibiotic resistance. The effects of cefixime in treating gonorrhea have been waning. Following this timeframe, the antibiotic treatment has gained in efficiency once more.
Cefixime is only a secondary treatment for the sexually transmitted disease. Typically, gonorrhea patients are treated with a combination of drugs based on ceftriaxone. According to the 2012 CDC guidelines, this is the preferred go to option, with cefixime falling second in line. However, with increased resistance to this antibiotic, it is sound to raise a warning signal to the potential decrease in efficiency of the ceftriaxone-based combination as well.
The lead author of the CDC report, Doctor Robert Kirkcaldy, stated:
“It is essential to continue monitoring antimicrobial susceptibility and track patterns of resistance among the antibiotic currently used to treat gonorrhea”.
Gonorrhea is most commonly reported with young adults, aged 15 through 24. The sexually transmitted disease may be contracted by engaging in unprotected vaginal, oral and anal sex. While symptoms may not be immediately apparent, they will manifest in multiple ways that require immediate medical attention. Among them, swollen testicles or a burn felt when urinating, as well as vaginal bleeding or an uptick in vaginal discharge are the most common.
If left unchecked for a longer period of time, gonorrhea may cause serious complications. These include infertility, ectopic pregnancy and pelvic pain. An immediate medical checkup is recommended if any of the symptoms are felt.
When detected, gonorrhea is treatable with antibiotics. And while CDC warns of waning effect of gonorrhea treatment, antibiotics are still the best available option. The CDC report included male patients who were diagnosed with gonorrhea. All men have been treated by physicians at public clinics nationwide between 2006 and 2014.
After analysing over 51,000 samples collected from 34 cities across the U.S., the CDC researchers concluded that the 2012 guidelines impacted gonorrhea treatment significantly. Thus, since 2006, when the ceftriaxone combination treatment represented only 9 percent of the cases, in 2014 it had spiked to 97 percent.
The spike is also due to increased resistance to cefixime, which the researchers determined to have spiked from 0.1 percent to 1.4 percent between 2006-2011. In 2013, it decreased to 0.4 only to increase again to 0.8 percent in 2014.
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