CDC Issues New First-Line Treatment Recommendations for Gonorrhea Among Men Who Have Sex With Men
April 30, 2004
The class of antibiotics known as fluoroquinolones should no longer be used as a first-line treatment for the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea among men who have sex with men, according to revised recommendations published in the April 30 issue of CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (McKenna, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 4/30). CDC since 1993 has recommended the use of fluoroquinolones, such as Cipro, to treat gonorrhea because the drugs are inexpensive and involve a single oral dose (Ratelle et al., MMWR, 4/30). However, CDC is changing its recommendations based on preliminary data published in MMWR that show an increase in the number of drug-resistant gonorrhea cases reported in 2003 (CDC release, 4/29). A recent study of data from STD clinics in 23 U.S. cities showed that the number of fluoroquinolone-resistant gonorrhea cases more than doubled between 2002 and 2003. The occurrence of drug-resistant gonorrhea was highest among MSM, increasing from 1.8% in 2002 to 4.9% in 2003 (Stein, Washington Post, 4/30). Because nearly 5% of gonorrhea cases among MSM are drug-resistant -- the resistance level at which a therapeutic regimen should be changed -- CDC has recommended that fluoroquinolones no longer be used as a first-line treatment for gonorrhea in MSM. In addition, due to an increase in the prevalence of fluoroquinolone-resistant gonorrhea strains in Asia, the Pacific Islands and California, CDC no longer recommends the use of fluoroquinolones to treat gonorrhea acquired in those areas (MMWR, 4/30). Gonorrhea can cause serious health problems, including infertility in both men and women, if left untreated (McVicar, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 4/30).
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.