Norfloxacin, a new oral quinolone, was compared with intramuscular spectinomycin for treating culture proved gonorrhoea (caused by penicillinase producing strains of Neisseria gonorrhoeae (PPNG) and non-PPNG strains. A total of 547 infected men and women were randomly allocated to treatment with either single dose norfloxacin (800 mg by mouth) or spectinomycin (2 g intramuscularly). Patient preference for tablets or injections was noted at this visit. Patients returned four to eight days later for assessment of efficacy, safety, and preference. Of the 482 patients who attended follow up, all those treated with norfloxacin (94 infected with PPNG strains, 145 with non-PPNG strains) and all 82 infected with PPNG strains and treated with spectinomycin were cured. Of 161 infected with non-PPNG strains and treated with spectinomycin, 159 (99%) were cured. Side effects (headache, nausea, and sleepiness) occurred in three patients receiving norfloxacin and in 17 (16 pain at injection site, 1 giddiness) receiving spectinomycin. Most patients preferred tablets to injection both on day 1 (313 v 200) and at follow up (373 v 104). This study showed that norfloxacin was a highly effective alternative to spectinomycin, produced fewer side effects, and was the preferred mode of administration.
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