The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource
Follow Us Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Download Our App 
Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol
  • Email Email
  • Printable Single-Page Print-Friendly
  • Glossary Glossary

Medical News

Warning of Gonorrhea Drugs Risk

April 1, 2010

Gonorrhea's growing resistance to antibiotics could make treating the STD become much more complex, according to information presented this week at the Society for General Microbiology's spring meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland.

"If this problem isn't addressed, then there is a real possibility that gonorrhea will become a very difficult infection to treat," said Professor Catherine Ison of the Health Protection Agency (HPA).

"Choosing an effective antibiotic can be a challenge because the organism that causes gonorrhea is very versatile and develops resistance to antibiotics very quickly," Ison said. "Penicillin was used for many years until it was no longer effective, and a number of other agents have been used since.

"The current drugs of choice, ceftriaxone and cefixime, are still very effective but there are signs that resistance, particularly to cefixime, is emerging and soon these drugs may not be a good choice," Ison said.

Because few new drugs are available, "it is probable that the current use of a single dose may soon need to be revised, and treatment over several days or with more than one antibiotic will need to be considered," said Ison.

This change in approach, if it becomes medically necessary, will increase the likelihood that patients will not complete their treatment regimen, said Hugh Pennington, professor emeritus of bacteriology at Aberdeen University. "This could make [drug] resistance, which could lead to a superbug situation," he said.

HPA said that while there is no need to alter treatment for gonorrhea at present, it urges physicians to remain vigilant and encourages individuals to use condoms with new and casual sex partners.

Back to other news for April 2010

Adapted from:

  • Email Email
  • Printable Single-Page Print-Friendly
  • Glossary Glossary

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
Quiz: Are You at Risk for HIV?
Ten Common Fears About HIV Transmission
Is HIV the Only Incurable Sexually Transmitted Disease?
The HIV-STD Connection
More News and Research on Gonorrhea