Metronidazole for chlamydia is not effective — the misconception that metronidazole is the treatment of choice for chlamydia stems from the fact that this drug is often used as part of a group of medications given when a person presents with symptoms of a sexually transmitted disease (STD) such as chlamydia. The metronidazole is included in the group to treat a possible trichomonas infection.
There are a number of common sexually transmitted diseases which may present with similar symptoms including vaginal or penile discharge, pain on urination or painful sexual intercourse. Should any of these symptoms be experienced, medical attention should be sought and treatment taken. Chlamydia is usually caused by an anaerobic organism called Chlamydia trachomatis which is transmitted sexually. It may remain symptomless, or present with the symptoms mentioned above.
Although metronidazole for chlamydia is not effective, a number of other antibiotics are used to treat chlamydia effectively. These include doxycycline, azithromycin or clarithromycin. The choice of which to use will be made by the prescribing doctor on a patient-by-patient basis taking into account each patient's clinical history and picture. The full course should be completed to minimize the chance of recurrence and all sexual partners should be treated at the same time.
While metronidazole is not used for chlamydia, it is used to treat bacterial vaginitis or urethritis caused by another anaerobe, Trichomonas vaginalis. It is usually used as a single dose or a seven day course and the prescribed dose and duration should be adhered to. In the case of a Trichomonas infection, sexual partners should also be treated.
As with any medication, metronidazole may interact with other medications, including homeopathic, complementary and over-the-counter preparations, so these should be discussed with the prescribing doctor. Alcohol should be completely avoided during treatment with metronidazole. Adverse effects may occur, including nausea and vomiting, diarrhea and an unpleasant taste in the mouth. Should any of these be severe, doctor's advice should be sought.
Syndromic treatment of vaginal discharge is often given on presentation of the non-specific symptoms of STDs. This entails the administration of three antibiotics simultaneously to treat the three most commonly found STDs: gonorrhea, chlamydia and trichomonas. STD prevention strategies are vital as the presence of any or all of these diseases increases the risk of transmission of HIV, an incurable STD. Condom use and the encouragement of fewer sexual partners are the first steps necessary to slow the epidemic.