With 86.9 million new cases in adults aged 15–49 years each year, gonorrhoea is the second most common bacterial sexually transmitted infection worldwide. The treatment of gonorrhea is currently under threat from advancing worldwide resistance to existing antibiotics. As a result, the currently used first-choice drug ceftriaxone may also be ineffective in the future in the treatment of gonorrhea. In recent decades, the gonorrhea bacterium has become resistant to a range of antibiotics. The pharmaceutical industry is investing little in the development of new antibiotics. That is why in 2017, this ZonMW-funded study into the effectiveness of existing antibiotics as a treatment for gonorrhea started.
A total of 346 people with gonorrhea participated in the study. They received treatment with ceftriaxone, ertapenem or gentamicin (injections), or a fosfomycin drink. Halfway through the study, the drug fosfomycin was found to be ineffective. The final analysis showed that the existing drug ceftriaxone cleared the infection in all cases. With ertapenem, treatment was effective in 99% of cases. Gentamicin was 93% less effective. Ertapenem is therefore a possible alternative for gonorrhea when ceftriaxone becomes ineffective in the future due to resistance.
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