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What are the Best Antibiotics for Gonorrhea?

Tricia Christensen
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The choice of best antibiotics for gonorrhea can depend on several factors. These include an individual’s previous response to first line medications and the type of gonorrhea that is present. It also matters if individuals are simultaneously infected with chlamydia, which is not particularly uncommon. In these cases, more than one antibiotic may need to be tried.

As of 2007, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published clear guides on how to choose the best antibiotics for gonorrhea. Shortly before this publication, studies indicated that one common group of antibacterial medicines, called floroquinolones, had begun to be ineffective and strains of the sexually transmitted disease were showing resistance to it. As it turns out, gonorrhea has behaved this way in the past with other antibiotics. It normally won’t respond to treatment with drugs like penicillin or tetracycline either.

The CDC issued recommendations for the best medications for gonorrhea based on this newly discovered resistance to floroquinolones, suggesting that people with simple cases of gonorrheal infection of the genitals receive a single intramuscular injection of ceftriaxone. This is a cephalosporin medication. Ceftriaxone is also indicated for treatment of gonorrhea that occurs in the throat, called pharyngeal gonorrhea.

If the illness is complicated by infection with chlamydia, a second oral antibiotic is typically added and this can be one of several types, and might include common drugs like Zithromax®. There are also a few medications very similar to ceftriaxone that are not available in the US, and these could make ideal substitutes. Additionally, if gonorrhea is a complicated infection, the initial injection could be followed with oral doses of antibiotics.

In some cases, ceftriaxone poses problems. Since is it a cephalosporin, some people are allergic to it if they are allergic to penicillin. An option is to look for the next best antibiotics for gonorrhea. Medications like doxycycline or clarithromycin could be used instead. Another approach is to use desensitization to the drug prior to giving it. Most times it isn’t necessary to do this, and other drugs will adequately substitute for it. It is known that drugs like Zithromax® will treat uncomplicated gonorrhea, but there exists concern that strains of gonorrhea will ultimately resist azithromycin, too.

A full examination and history of a patient's drug allergies is important in order to select the best antibiotics for gonorrhea. Doctors use guidelines but make decisions on case-by-case bases. These decisions may not always be identical to the guidelines. Furthermore, doctors need to continue to assess a patient’s recovery. Sometimes additional treatment is required even if the best and most recommended treatment has been used.

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.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a The Health Board contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anon996332 — On Aug 13, 2016

Is to normal to bleed while taking treatment for gonorrhea and chlamydia?

By dollygirl — On Oct 04, 2015

I had written a long and extensive comment, but I guess it got erased when I registered before submitting my comment. Long story short. I got gonorrhea and my antibiotics my doctor gave me didn't cut it, but he wouldn't call me another prescription without a return visit, but I had spent all the money I had on that visit and prescription.

My fried came to the rescue and told me about website that has real antibiotics. I ordered a blister pack of Azithromycin

(which is another name for Zithormax) now $20 and three pills later my gonorrhea is history. Good Luck anon322901, a year is a long time.

P.S Did anyone else ever experience a bad cough while having gonorrhea? My throat was always sticky feeling, thick with mucus and made me cough.

By anon331619 — On Apr 24, 2013

Has anyone ever tried herbal and natural remedies for gonorrhea? Most of the people using western medicines are unaware of the excellent results of natural remedies. After using the western medicines for a period of time, they develop resistance to the antibiotics. But this is not the case with natural remedies.

These remedies address to the root cause of the disease. They increase your immunity against the disease causing organism. Ayurvedic herbs also bring about a cooling effect on the burning pain.

Some of the frequently used remedies are War 1M, OM 28 Immune system, Alclearize and Alkoolize.

By anon322901 — On Mar 01, 2013

I have been using several treatments for gonorrhea for almost a year, but have not been cured. I would like to request an assistance or consultancy to anyone who deals with such diseases.

By pinkandred — On Apr 17, 2011

After a few not-so-nice nights in my college days, I ended up with a nasty case of gonorrhea -- the only thing that worked for me was Zithromax. Apparently, according to the nurse at the clinic, other antibiotics are becoming resistant to gonorrhea -- how scary is that? Anyway, I learned my lesson, but just remember that gonorrhea is hard to treat and sometimes the symptoms can be so mild that it goes undetected. It is very important to inform your doctor of any changes, no matter how small they may be.

By seekinfo2 — On Apr 14, 2011

The symptoms of gonorrhea should be taken seriously. If you are a woman and are having painful urination, discharge, genital itching, abdominal pain, and fever you should talk to your doctor. These are the most common signs of gonorrhea infection in women.

In men, the symptoms are more obvious. The symptoms include: discharge, painful urination, and anal itching, pain, and bleeding.

If a man or woman is experiencing any of these symptoms, he or she should talk to a doctor. Early treatment is necessary to prevent spreading. Treatment with antibiotics can prevent further complications, including infertility.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a The Health Board contributor, Tricia...
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