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Azithromycin in the treatment of infection with Neisseria gonorrhoeae
  1. Chris Bignell,
  2. Janet Garley
  1. Department of GU Medicine, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, Nottingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Chris Bignell, Department of GU Medicine, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, City Hospital Campus, Hucknall Road, Nottingham NG5 1PB, UK; chris.bignell{at}


The efficacy of azithromycin as sole antimicrobial treatment for infection with Neisseria gonorrhoeae is reviewed. Aggregate cure rates for urethral and endocervical infection were 520/539 (96.5%; 95% CI 94.3% to 97.6%) for a 1 g dose from nine studies and 392/396 (99%; 95% CI 97.5% to 99.6%) for a 2 g dose from two studies. Azithromycin cured 46/47 (97.9%) cases of oropharyngeal infection and 34/35 (97.1%) cases of rectal infection evaluated within the clinical trials. Reports of in vitro resistance to azithromycin reveal a wide geographical spread of clinical isolates, with raised minimal inhibitory concentration to azithromycin and the emergence of high-level resistance in 2001. Concerns about resistance preclude azithromycin from general recommendation as sole antimicrobial therapy for gonorrhoea. However, azithromycin may have a valuable role in specific clinical situations and in combination with extended spectrum cephalosporins in the treatment of gonorrhoea.

  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • azithromycin
  • gonorrhoea
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae
  • treatment
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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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