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Ann Intern Med. 1999 Sep 21;131(6):434-7.

Azithromycin compared with penicillin G benzathine for treatment of incubating syphilis.

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Department of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, 35294-0006, USA.



Preventive therapy is an important element of syphilis control efforts. No currently recommended, single-dose alternatives to penicillin G benzathine are available for treatment of incubating syphilis.


To evaluate the use of a single 1.0-g dose of azithromycin for treatment of persons recently exposed to sexual partners with infectious syphilis.


Single-center, open-label, randomized pilot study to compare azithromycin with penicillin G benzathine therapy. Participants were evaluated serologically for 3 months.


Sexually transmitted disease clinic in Birmingham, Alabama.


96 participants who in the preceding 30 days had been exposed to partners with infectious syphilis through sexual intercourse.


Syphilis prevention, as indicated by nonreactive serologic tests (rapid plasma reagin and fluorescent treponemal antibody-absorbed), throughout the 3-month follow-up.


Among 96 participants enrolled, none of 40 evaluable persons in the azithromycin group and none of 23 evaluable persons in the penicillin group developed evidence of syphilis. Significantly more penicillin-treated participants (21 of 44 [48%]) than azithromycin-treated participants (12 of 52 [23%]) became nonevaluable during follow-up (P = 0.01).


A single 1.0-g dose of azithromycin seems to be efficacious for prevention of syphilis in persons exposed to infected sexual partners.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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