OBJECTIVE--To study the effectiveness of single-dose norfloxacin and ofloxacin in the treatment of gonococcal urethritis in men, and to monitor in vitro antimicrobial susceptibility to these antibiotics over time. SETTING--Centre Médico-Social de Bilyogo, Kigali, Rwanda. The only clinic in Rwanda using quinolones for the treatment of gonorrhoea. METHODS--As part of a monitoring programme, men with gonococcal urethritis were evaluated after treatment with norfloxacin (800 mg) in 1986 and 1987, and after treatment with ofloxacin (400 mg) in 1989. RESULTS--Neisseria gonorrhoeae was eradicated from the urethra from 96.0% (189/197) and from 97.1% (166/171) men treated with norfloxacin and ofloxacin, respectively. Overall 38.2% of the pretreatment isolates produced penicillinase (PPNG isolates) and 20.4% (44/216) of the tested non-PPNG isolates were chromosomally resistant to penicillin (MIC > or = 2.0 mg/l). Resistance to tetracycline and thiamphenicol was common in both PPNG and non-PPNG and increased considerably in 1989. All isolates were susceptible to kanamycin, spectinomycin, ceftiaxone, norfloxacin, ofloxacin and ciprofloxacin. However, a higher number of isolates recovered in 1989 showed decreased susceptibility to the quinolones. Treatment failure occurred more often in subjects with isolates having MIC values > or = 0.06 mg/L of norfloxacin (p = 0.006). Seven out of 13 patients who did not respond to therapy had no signs nor symptoms of urethritis. CONCLUSION--Quinolone antibiotics are now indicated as a first line treatment of gonorrhoea in countries with a problem of antimicrobial multiresistance. However, antimicrobial susceptibility to the quinolones may decrease rapidly, and close monitoring of the in vitro susceptibility of N gonorrhoeae and the clinical effectiveness of the antibiotics is imperative.
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