Antibiotics for syphilis


Antibiotic penicillin is most widely used in the treatment of syphilis. Penicillin is usually given as an injection.

If you are allergic to penicillin, your doctor may prescribe you another antibiotic, such as doxycycline, tetracycline, ceftriaxone or azithromycin, in the early stages of syphilis. In later stages of the disease, it may be necessary to treat with penicillin.

Penicillin is the only antibiotic that is taken during pregnancy. If you are pregnant and think that you are allergic to penicillin, discuss this issue with your doctor.


Antibiotics destroy bacteria that cause syphilis.

What for

Antibiotics prescribe in the event that you have positive blood test results for syphilis detected during a regular checkup, or if you have symptoms suggesting syphilis. A sexual partner of a person suffering from syphilis or children born to women who have syphilis should also undergo a course of treatment.

The dose and frequency of taking the medicine are based on the stage of the disease. For example, in the case of neurosyphilis, it is necessary to take an antibiotic for 10 days-2 weeks.


Treatment with penicillin in most cases relieves syphilis of any stage. Antibiotics prevent the occurrence of subsequent complications of syphilis, but can not repair the damage already caused by the disease.

It is necessary to undergo a second examination and give blood for analysis at 6 and 12 months after taking antibiotics (and, possibly, 24 months later, in the case of syphilis in the latent stage) to make sure that the infection is cured.

In the case of infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), during the treatment, follow-up examination and blood test must be completed at 3, 6, 9, 12 and 24 months.

Syphilis transmitted to the child from the mother (congenital syphilis) can be prevented if the disease is cured before the 16-18 weeks of pregnancy. Treatment after 16-18 weeks of pregnancy will relieve the disease and stop damage to the fetus, but will not repair the damage already caused by the infection.

Side effects

The Jaric-Herxheimer reaction often manifests itself in response to the treatment of syphilis with antibiotics, manifesting itself in the form of fever and headache. The reaction may occur no later than 8 hours after the initiation of syphilis treatment in the early stages. The use of oral steroids, such as prednisone, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, before taking antibiotics can prevent the emergence of the Jaric-Herxheimer reaction. But most experts do not recommend this approach on a regular basis, since the reaction is usually moderate and does not last long.

The reason for the Jaric-Herxheimer reaction is unclear, but it can be caused by toxins that are released by syphilis bacteria, due to their destruction by antibiotics. The Jaric-Herxheimer reaction is not an allergic reaction to penicillin.

Women in the second half of pregnancy are at increased risk of premature birth and fetal depression if they have a Jaric-Herxheimer reaction. But pregnant women who have syphilis should still undergo a course of treatment, since congenital syphilis is more likely to cause fetal death. If you are pregnant and you have symptoms of a reaction, tell your doctor immediately.

For a complete list of side effects, read the Instruction for the preparation (Instructions to the drug are not available in all systems).

What to think about

Instructions for the treatment of syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases are constantly updated by the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Treatment with antibiotics will get rid of syphilis and prevent the occurrence of complications. Complications of tertiary syphilis or congenital syphilis can not be restored with the help of treatment, but the progression of the disease will cease.

In the treatment of syphilis, preference is given to penicillin. Although penicillin is the standard drug for the treatment of neurosyphilis, congenital syphilis, or syphilis acquired or detected during pregnancy, other antibiotics (eg ceftriaxone) can be taken.

Penicillin is the only proven drug that is often used in the treatment of neurosyphilis, congenital syphilis or syphilis during pregnancy. In treating syphilis with another drug, a more thorough re-examination is necessary to monitor the treatment or relapse.

Penicillin in small amounts falls into breast milk, but usually it does not harm the baby, breast-feeding. Dexocycline and tetracycline also enter breast milk and can affect the development of bone tissue and teeth of a baby breast-feeding. If you are breastfeeding, do not take these medications without consulting your doctor.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend re-examination and testing at 6 and 12 months after taking antibiotics (examination and analysis may need to be completed in 24 months, in the case of latent syphilis) to make sure that the infection is cured. Follow-up examinations and tests are recommended at 3, 6, 9, 12 and 24 months, if there was an HIV infection during treatment.

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