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Lancet. 2012 Jan 28;379(9813):342-7. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(11)61624-3. Epub 2012 Jan 11.

Single-dose azithromycin versus benzathine benzylpenicillin for treatment of yaws in children in Papua New Guinea: an open-label, non-inferiority, randomised trial.

Author information

  • 1Lihir Medical Centre-International SOS, Newcrest Mining, Lihir Island, Papua New Guinea. oriolmitja@hotmail.com

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Yaws--an endemic treponematosis and, as such, a neglected tropical disease--is re-emerging in children in rural, tropical areas. Oral azithromycin is effective for syphilis. We assessed the efficacy of azithromycin compared with intramuscular long-acting penicillin to treat patients with yaws.

METHODS:

We did an open-label, non-inferiority, randomised trial at Lihir Medical Centre, Papua New Guinea, between Sept 1, 2010, and Feb 1, 2011. Children aged 6 months to 15 years with a serologically confirmed diagnosis of yaws were randomly allocated, by a computer-generated randomisation sequence, to receive either one 30 mg/kg oral dose of azithromycin or an intramuscular injection of 50,000 units per kg benzathine benzylpenicillin. Investigators were masked to group assignment. The primary endpoint was treatment efficacy, with cure rate defined serologically as a decrease in rapid plasma reagin titre of at least two dilutions by 6 months after treatment, and, in participants with primary ulcers, also by epithelialisation of lesions within 2 weeks. Non-inferiority was shown if the upper limit of the two-sided 95% CI for the difference in rates was lower than 10%. The primary analysis was per protocol. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01382004.

FINDINGS:

We allocated 124 patients to the azithromycin group and 126 to the benzathine benzylpenicillin group. In the per-protocol analysis, after 6 months of follow-up, 106 (96%) of 110 patients in the azithromycin group were cured, compared with 105 (93%) of 113 in the benzathine benzylpenicillin group (treatment difference -3·4%; 95% CI -9·3 to 2·4), thus meeting prespecified criteria for non-inferiority. The number of drug-related adverse events (all mild or moderate) was similar in both treatment groups (ten [8%] in the azithromycin group vs eight [7%] in the benzathine benzylpenicillin group).

INTERPRETATION:

A single oral dose of azithromycin is non-inferior to benzathine benzylpenicillin and avoids the need for injection equipment and medically trained personnel. A change to the simpler azithromycin treatment regimen could enable yaws elimination through mass drug administration programmes.

FUNDING:

International SOS and Newcrest Mining.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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PMID:
22240407
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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