HealthDay News — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest tracking suggests that although gonorrhea resistance to the antibiotic treatment cefixime declined between 2011 and 2013, it started to rise again in 2014. The study findings are published as a research letter in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The new CDC study looked at treatment outcomes among male gonorrhea patients who had been treated at public clinics across the United States between 2006 and 2014. Across 34 cities, 51,144 samples were gathered. About one-third were collected in the western United States and one-third collected in the South. A little more than a quarter of the samples (28.1%) were drawn from men who either identified as gay or bisexual.

The investigators found that the CDC’s 2012 shift away from recommending cefixime and toward ceftriaxone-based combination therapy had a profound impact. While the combination therapy had been given to 8.7% of the patients in 2006, that figure rose to 96.6% by 2014. Alongside that shift, the team found that cefixime-resistance went up from 0.1% in 2006 to 1.4% in 2011, and then back down to 0.4% in 2013. But by 2014 resistance trended upward to 0.8%.

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“It is essential to continue monitoring antimicrobial susceptibility and track patterns of resistance among the antibiotics currently used to treat gonorrhea,” lead author Robert Kirkcaldy, MD, MPH, an epidemiologist in the CDC’s division of STD prevention in Atlanta, told HealthDay. “Trends of cefixime susceptibility have historically been a precursor to trends in ceftriaxone. So it’s important to continue monitoring cefixime to be able to anticipate what might happen with other drugs in the future.”

One author disclosed financial ties to the biotechnology industry.


1. Kirkcaldy RD, Hook EW, Soge O et al. Trends in Neisseria gonorrhoeae Susceptibility to Cephalosporins in the United States, 2006-2014. JAMA. 2015;314(17):1869-1871. doi: 10.1001/jama.2015.10347.