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Tablets to Treat Gonorrhea Available in U.S.

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Tablets to Treat Gonorrhea Available in U.S.

Tablets for first-line treatment of gonorrhea are now available in the United States, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday. The prescription cefiximine 400 milligram tablets are available as of this month.

In April last year, the CDC updated its recommendations for gonorrhea treatment, no longer recommending fluoroquinoline antibiotics (ciprofloxacin, ofloxacin and levofloxacin) due to data that indicated widespread resistance in the United States to these drugs.

That left a single class of antibiotics called cephalosporins as the single recommended treatment for gonorrhea. Within this class, the only recommended treatment for all types of gonorrhea (urogenital, rectal and pharyngeal) is an injection form called ceftriaxone. However, for uncomplicated gonorrhea (which hasn't spread to the blood or central nervous system), the CDC now also recommends cefiximine tablets. Since 2002, it's only been available in liquid form, which limited its use because it's not as convenient as a tablet.

"The availability of cefiximine tablets this month will have a tremendous impact in fighting gonorrhea. This oral option expands a physician's arsenal to combat this serious disease, while giving patients a drug that is easier to take," Dr. Kevin Fenton, director of CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, said in a prepared statement.

Gonorrhea is the second most commonly reported infectious disease in the United States, after chlamydia.

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