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How Effective Is Metronidazole for Chlamydia?

By B. Chisholm
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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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.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By anon966913 — On Aug 23, 2014

Yes you do. You need a course of Doxycycline if you are going to be treating for Chlamydia.

By candyquilt — On Sep 30, 2012

@literally45-- I think the confusion arises because sometimes doctors can't figure out what kind of STDs, or other bacterial infections someone has. The reason is because not all STDs show symptoms and sometimes the symptoms are just too similar to one another.

You should speak to your doctor to get a clarification of your treatment. My guess is that the doctor suspected you to have chlamydial vaginitis which is vaginitis that is caused by the chlamydia bacteria but the tests showed that you have another type of vaginitis caused by a different bacteria.

There is no other reason why a doctor would prescribe metronidazole for chlamydia.

By literally45 — On Sep 29, 2012

If metronidazole doesn't work for chlamydia, why was I prescribed it? I did have vaginitis at the same time and the doctor probably gave it for that, but he also said that it will take care of the chlamydia.

That's wrong right? Do I need to be treated again?

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