In a comparative kinetic study of the serum concentrations of two penicillin complexes--medium-long-acting (benethamine penicillin) and long-acting (benzathine bipenicillin)--after a single injection in young adults and elderly people, the following results were confirmed statistically: (a) age was a major factor in the variations in serum penicillin concentrations and in their persistence in the serum; (b) the penicillin was absorbed faster in young than in elderly subjects even when a long-acting complex was used; (c) serum concentrations below the level regarded as lethal for treponemes appeared much earlier and more frequently in young than in old people; and (d) the bioequivalence between penicillin preparations could not be estimated solely for the number of units of the agent used but from the bioavailability of the chosen formulation. Thus a uniform and standard penicillin dosage allowing no safety margin may help in the superficial healing of a syphilitic chancre or the resolution of a roseola but it will certainly be insufficient to kill Treponema pallidum. It seems essential therefore to provide an antibiotic cover at high dosage over a long period of time.
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