Comparison of serological responses to single-dose azithromycin (2 g) versus benzathine penicillin G in the treatment of early syphilis in HIV-infected patients in an area of low prevalence of macrolide-resistant Treponema pallidum infection

Chia-Jui Yang, Hung-Jen Tang, Sui-Yuan Chang, Szu-Min Hsieh, Kuan-Yeh Lee, Yuan-Ti Lee, Wang-Huei Sheng, Shang-Ping Yang, Chien-Ching Hung, Shan-Chwen Chang
Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 2016, 71 (3): 775-82

OBJECTIVES: Effectiveness of single-dose azithromycin (2 g) in the treatment of early syphilis among HIV-infected patients has rarely been evaluated in the era of combination ART.

METHODS: Consecutive HIV-infected patients with early syphilis, who received 2 g single-dose azithromycin or 2.4 MU benzathine penicillin G, between 2007 and 2014, were prospectively observed. Genotypic resistance to macrolides was determined in Treponema pallidum isolates identified from clinical specimens using PCR assays. Rapid plasma reagin (RPR) titres were determined at baseline and every 3 months after treatment. Primary outcome was a decline of RPR titre by ≥4-fold at 12 months after treatment.

RESULTS: During the study period, 162 HIV-infected patients with early syphilis received benzathine penicillin G and 237 patients received azithromycin. At 12 months follow-up, the serological response rate for penicillin and azithromycin groups was 61.1% and 56.5% (P = 0.41), respectively; respective response rate was 61.1% and 65.9% (P = 0.49) if we only included patients infected with T. pallidum not harbouring macrolide resistance in the azithromycin group. In multivariate analysis, RPR titres ≥1:32 (OR 2.56; 95% CI 1.55-4.21) and prior syphilis (OR 0.54; 95% CI 0.35-0.81) were predictors of serological response. Most common adverse effects of azithromycin included diarrhoea (52.7%), nausea (22.4%), abdominal pain (18.6%), bloating (17.7%) and lassitude/somnolence (27.4%).

CONCLUSIONS: In the setting of a low prevalence of macrolide-resistant T. pallidum, 2 g single-dose azithromycin achieved a similar serological response to benzathine penicillin G in HIV-infected patients with early syphilis. Major adverse effects of azithromycin were gastrointestinal symptoms and lassitude/somnolence.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"