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Gonorrhea Resistant to All But One Antibiotic: CDC
Date:8/9/2012

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Aug. 9 (HealthDay News) -- 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. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 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 oral antibiotics: azithromycin or doxycycline, the CDC stated in the guidelines published in the Aug. 10 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Strains of gonorrhea 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 drug resistance, 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 gonorrhoeae 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.

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