Newer antibiotics called cephalosporins should become the sole drug treatment for the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhoea.
The reason: The bacterial infection is becoming increasingly resistant to treatment with the standard family of antibiotics called fluoroquinolones that includes Cipro, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.
Since the early 1990s, fluoroquinolones have been the standard treatment for gonorrhoea.
An article published in Friday's edition of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report says that preliminary 2006 data show that fluoroquinolone-resistant gonorrhoea is now widespread among both heterosexual and gay men in the United States.
A survey of 26 cities found that fluoroquinolone-resistant disease accounted for 6.7 percent of gonorrhoea cases among heterosexual men, compared with about 0.6 percent of cases in 2001. Among gay men, drug-resistant strains accounted for 38 percent of gonorrhoea cases in the first half of 2006.
The threshold has been crossed
The recognised threshold for changing treatment recommendations is when 5 percent of cases are drug-resistant, the CDC said.
Along with switching to cephalosporins to treat gonorrhoea, the CDC recommends increased monitoring for cephalosporin-resistant gonorrhoea and accelerated research into new treatments for the disease.
"Gonorrhoea has now joined the list of other superbugs for which treatment options have become dangerously few. To make a bad problem even worse, we're also seeing a decline in the development of new antibiotics to treat these infections," Dr Henry Masur, president of the Infectious Disease Society of America, told the Associated Press.
Gonorrhoea can spread into the uterus and fallopian tubes, resulting in pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID can cause tubal (ectopic) pregnancy and infertility in as many as 10 percent of infected women. Some researchers also think gonorrhoea adds to the risk of HIV infection, according to the NIH. – (HealthDayNews)
STIs and safer sex
Gonorrhoea fact sheet