CDC Has New Plan for Treating Gonorrhea
Federal health officials are warning that the last line of defense against gonorrhea is in jeopardy, and they're telling health-care providers to take measures to preserve the drug's effectiveness.
Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said yesterday that doctors should back off using the antibiotic cefixime (part of the cephalosporin class of antibiotics) as a first attempt at treating the sexually transmitted infections.
Instead, they should first use a two-drug combination that includes a shot and an oral medication.
Gonorrhea infects as many as 700,000 Americans a year and is most dangerous for women, who can develop pelvic inflammatory disease that leads to infertility. Women with the disease also have a higher risk of potentially deadly ectopic pregnancies -- a pregnancy outside the uterus, usually in a fallopian tube.
Recent evidence shows a risk of cephalosporin-resistant gonorrhea in the United States, prompting the CDC to change its recommendations.
"The change we're making is a critical pre-emptive strike to preserve the last available treatment option," said Dr. Gail Bolan, the CDC's director of STD prevention.
She said it's the best plan to buy time while researchers and drugmakers work to develop new treatments.
Dr. Robert Kirkcaldy, a medical epidemiologist with the CDC, said there are clear scientific warnings that resistance is on the horizon, particularly in gay and bisexual men on the West Coast.