SAN FRANCISCO -- Two combination treatments for gonorrhea were almost 100 percent effective, U.S. researchers said, and may help stave off strains of the sexually transmitted disease that have become resistant to available antibiotics.
The study of 401 people used combinations of the pill azithromycin with either the injectable drug gentamicin or another pill, gemifloxacin, according to data presented in Vienna, Austria, at a meeting of the International Society for Sexually Transmitted Diseases Research.
Treatment options for gonorrhea, the second-most common disease in the United States that doctors must report to health authorities, have been limited as medicines starting with penicillin lose effectiveness. In Britain, doctors began using one of the new combinations and reported in the Lancet in June that resistance to cefixime, a first-line pill, had dropped for the first time in four years.
About 800,000 new infections occur every year in the United States, said Gail Bolan of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "This is an encouraging development, but we're still working in a very discouraging field," Bolan said. "It's a good fallback."