Sex Transm Infect doi:10.1136/sextrans-2011-050466
  • Clinical
  • Short report

What is the appropriate treatment for the management of rectal Chlamydia trachomatis in men and women?

  1. Penny Goold
  1. Department of Genitourinary Medicine, Whittall Street Clinic, Birmingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Emma Hathorn, Department of Genitourinary Medicine, Whittall Street Clinic, Whittall Street, Birmingham, B4 6DH, UK; emma.hathorn{at}
  1. Contributors EH and PG were involved in all aspects of the audit and paper. CO assisted in data collection. All authors approved the final version.

  • Accepted 18 March 2012
  • Published Online First 19 April 2012


Background There is no UK guidance specifically for the management of rectal Chlamydia trachomatis yet there is documented treatment failure with single-dose azithromycin suggesting that test of cure (TOC) and alternative treatment may be needed.

Objectives To evaluate the efficacy of single-dose azithromycin compared with 1 week of doxycycline in the treatment of rectal C trachomatis.

Methods Data were collected prospectively on all patients diagnosed with rectal C trachomatis who received azithromycin 1 g stat between 1 January and 30 June 2010 and between 1 October 2010 and 31 March 2011 following a local change in treatment protocol to 1 week of doxycycline 100 mg twice a day. Information was collected on gender, concurrent sexually transmitted infections, treatment received, re-infection risk, re-treatment and TOC at 6 weeks.

Results 11 patients (26.2%) had a positive TOC following treatment with stat azithromycin. The risk of re-infection was excluded in two, identifying nine of the 11 (81.8%) as treatment failures. Two patients had a positive TOC following treatment with 1 week of doxycycline, both were found to have a risk of re-infection. There was a significantly higher treatment failure rate in patients receiving azithromycin (p=0.0025).

Conclusions A higher treatment failure rate was found following azithromycin for rectal C trachomatis than previously published. If azithromycin is used for treatment of rectal C trachomatis, TOC may be required or alternative treatment with doxycycline may be preferable, but further data are required.


  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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