The efficacy and safety of gentamicin plus azithromycin and gemifloxacin plus azithromycin as treatment of uncomplicated gonorrhea

Participated in study conception and design, served as initial principal investigator; CDC

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


Background. Ceftriaxone is the foundation of currently recommended gonorrhea treatment. There is an urgent need for backup treatment options for patients with cephalosporin allergy or infections due to suspected cephalosporin- resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae. We evaluated the efficacy and tolerability of 2 combinations of existing noncephalosporin antimicrobials for treatment of patients with urogenital gonorrhea. Methods. We conducted a randomized, multisite, open-label, noncomparative trial in 5 outpatient sexually transmitted disease clinic sites in Alabama, California, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. Patients aged 15 60 years diagnosed with uncomplicated urogenital gonorrhea were randomly assigned to either gentamicin 240 mg intramuscularly plus azithromycin 2 g orally, or gemifloxacin 320 mg orally plus azithromycin 2 g orally. The primary outcome was microbiological cure of urogenital infections (negative follow-up culture) at 10 17 days after treatment among 401 participants in the per protocol population. Results. Microbiological cure was achieved by 100% (lower 1-sided exact 95% confidence interval [CI] bound, 98.5%) of 202 evaluable participants receiving gentamicin/azithromycin, and 99.5% (lower 1-sided exact 95% CI bound, 97.6%) of 199 evaluable participants receiving gemifloxacin/azithromycin. Gentamicin/azithromycin cured 10 of 10 pharyngeal infections and 1 of 1 rectal infection; gemifloxacin/azithromycin cured 15 of 15 pharyngeal and 5 of 5 rectal infections. Gastrointestinal adverse events were common in both arms. Conclusions. Gentamicin/azithromycin and gemifloxacin/azithromycin were highly effective for treatment of urogenital gonorrhea. Gastrointestinal adverse events may limit routine use. These non-cephalosporin-based regimens may be useful alternative options for patients who cannot be treated with cephalosporin antimicrobials. Additional treatment options for gonorrhea are needed. Clinical Trials Registration. NCT00926796.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1083-1091
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 15 2014


  • Azithromycin
  • Gemifloxacin
  • Gentamicin
  • Gonorrhea treatment
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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