The antibiotic treatment for sexually transmitted Gonorrhoea, Cefixime, appears to be losing its effectiveness. Nevertheless, Cefixime isn’t the only treatment available, nor the most recommended, as a ceftriaxone-based treatment is the primary choice recommended by health officials.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been tracking the results of male gonorrhoea patients being treated at public hospitals between 2006 and 2014. On 2012, the resistance of the disease to the antibiotic seem to drop, although in 2014 it showed to go back up again.

“Trends of cefixime susceptibility have historically been a precursor to trends in ceftriaxone,” said Dr. Kirkcaldy, from the CDC, according to Philly. “So it’s important to continue monitoring cefixime to be able to anticipate what might happen with other drugs in the future.”

Skeletal diagram of cefixime. Cefixime is an antibiotic useful for the treatment of a number of bacterial infections. Credit: Wikipedia

On 2006, cefixime resistance was on 0.1 percent and went up to 1.4 percent by 2011, stepping down to 0.4 percent in 2013. Nevertheless, the resistance went up again to 0.8 percent in 2014.

The CDC decision in 2012 to update their guidelines, recommending ceftriaxone-based treatment therapy over cefixime, caused the combination therapy, used only by nine percent of patients on 2008, to increase and got nearly 97 percent by 2014.

The CDC collected over 51,000 samples from 34 cities across the U.S. The CDC reported that nearly 25 percent of the samples were taken from men who identified themselves as gay or bisexual.

The CDC stated that is difficult to establish the indicators on the body resistance to antibiotics, as they need to keep studying its behavior and the response from gonorrhoea. They added that the recent increase of resistance is only the beginning of their further studies.

Gonorrhoea usually spreads during unprotected vaginal or anal intercourse, as well as oral sex. It affects mostly young people between the ages of 15 and 24. Some people don’t show any symptoms when they are first infected. Later, painful and burning sensations when urinating start to appear, as swollen testicles and discolored discharge from the penis are some of the consequences on men.

For women, symptoms are vaginal bleeding between periods, and an increase of the vaginal discharge. When the rectum is infected, symptoms are itching, bleeding, spark soreness, discharge and painful bowel movements, according to information from the CDC.

If the disease isn’t properly treated, there can be serious health consequences, as Dr. Kirkcaldy explains. Among these complications, are chronic pelvic pain, infertility and a high risk of an abnormal pregnancy that occurs outside the uterus called ectopic pregnancy. Also, he added that in a few rare cases the disease can spread to your blood or joints, potentially infecting your body and risking your life.

Doctors recommend the screening for the disease in young, sexually active women who are vulnerable to getting infected, in order to improve the findings made by the CDC with these studies. Also, the CDC stated that they recommend that an annual screening should be done on both men and women showing high risk of infection.

Source: Journal JAMA