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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2016 Dec 27;61(1). pii: e01092-16. doi: 10.1128/AAC.01092-16. Print 2017 Jan.

Efficacy of Doxycycline in the Treatment of Syphilis.

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Department of Dermatology, Shanghai Xuhui Central Hospital, Shanghai, People's Republic of China.
Department of STD Institute, Shanghai Skin Disease Hospital, Shanghai, People's Republic of China
Department of Clinical Management, National Center for STD Control, Institute of Dermatology, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Nanjing, Jiangsu, People's Republic of China


Doxycycline is an alternative antibiotic drug for the treatment of syphilis, but data on its efficacy, especially data on its efficacy against late latent syphilis, are limited. A retrospective study was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of doxycycline for the treatment of patients with different stages of syphilis. Patients who received doxycycline treatment between June 2011 and June 2014 were involved. The serological response to doxycycline was defined as either a negative toluidine red unheated serum test (TRUST) result or a ≥4-fold decrease in titer at 12 months following the treatment. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed to identify factors associated with the serological response. During the study period, a total of 163 syphilis patients were treated with doxycycline, and 118 patients completed doxycycline treatment and the 12-month follow-up. Among the 118 patients, the serological response rate at 12 months was 100.0% (7/7) in patients with primary syphilis, 96.9% (62/64) in patients with secondary syphilis, 91.3% (21/23) in patients with early latent syphilis, and 79.2% (19/24) in patients with late latent syphilis. The total serological response rates were 92.4% (109/118) for preprotocol (PP) patients and 66.9% (109/163) for all intention-to-treat (ITT) patients. In multivariate analysis, patients who serologically responded at 12 months following treatment were positively associated with a higher baseline TRUST titer and an earlier syphilis stage than nonresponders. Our study showed excellent treatment outcomes in patients with different stages of syphilis. Our data, along with those from other reports, support the usage of doxycycline as a good alternative therapeutic option in the treatment of syphilis.


doxycycline; efficacy; syphilis

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