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Clin Infect Dis. 2015 Jul 15;61(2):177-83. doi: 10.1093/cid/civ270. Epub 2015 Mar 31.

High-dose oral amoxicillin plus probenecid is highly effective for syphilis in patients with HIV infection.

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AIDS Clinical Center, National Center for Global Health and Medicine, Tokyo.
AIDS Clinical Center, National Center for Global Health and Medicine, Tokyo Center for AIDS Research, Kumamoto University, Japan.



Intramuscular benzathine penicillin G (BPG) is widely used for the treatment of syphilis. However, BPG is not available in some countries. This study examined the effectiveness and safety of high-dose oral amoxicillin plus probenecid for the treatment of syphilis in patients with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1).


This retrospective observational study included 286 HIV-infected male patients with syphilis (median age, 36 years; median CD4 count, 389 cells/µL) who were treated with oral amoxicillin 3 g plus probenecid. Syphilis was diagnosed by both serum rapid plasma reagin (RPR) titers ≥8 and positive Treponema pallidum hemagglutination test. Patients with neurosyphilis diagnosed by cerebrospinal fluid examination were excluded. Successful treatment was defined as a at least 4-fold decrement in RPR titer.


The overall treatment efficacy was 95.5% (95% confidence interval [CI], 92.4%-97.7%; 273/286 patients), and efficacy for primary, secondary, early latent, late latent, and unknown duration syphilis was 93.8% (95% CI, 68.1%-99.8%; 15/16), 97.3% (95% CI, 92.9%-99.2%; 142/146), 100% (95% CI, 90.5%-100%; 37/37), 85.7% (95% CI, 58.6%-96.4%; 18/21), and 92.4% (95% CI, 81.9%-97.3%; 61/66), respectively. Treatment duration was mostly 14-16 days (49.7%) or 28-30 days (34.3%), with efficacy of 94.4% (134/142) and 95.9% (94/98), respectively; 96.3% of successfully treated patients achieved a ≥4-fold decrement in RPR titer within 12 months. Adverse events were noted in 28 (9.8%) patients, and 25 of these (89.3%) were successfully treated. Only 6% of patients underwent lumbar puncture.


The combination of oral amoxicillin 3 g plus probenecid was highly effective and tolerable for the treatment of syphilis in patients with HIV-1 infection.


HIV; MSM; amoxicillin; syphilis; treatment

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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