(HealthDay News) – Two new treatment combinations based on existing drugs show promise for treating gonorrhea, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the International Society for Sexually Transmitted Diseases Research, held from July 14–17 in Vienna.

Robert Kirkcaldy, MD, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues examined the effectiveness of two new antibiotic regimens based on existing drugs (injectable gentamicin combined with oral azithromycin and oral gemifloxacin combined with oral azithromycin) for treatment of gonorrhea infection. Participants included 401 men and women aged 15–60 years with untreated gonorrhea infection who were allocated to gentamicin/azithromycin (202 participants) or gemifloxacin/azithromycin (199 participants).

The researchers found that injectable gentamicin/oral azithromycin was 100% effective for curing genital gonorrhea infections, and the oral gemifloxacin/oral azithromycin combination was 99.5% effective. The effectiveness of both combinations was 100% for infections of the throat and rectum. Side effects were reported by many participants, and were primarily gastrointestinal issues, including nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal pain/discomfort.

“These trial results are an exciting step in the right direction in the fight against drug-resistant gonorrhea,” Gail Bolan, MD, director of CDC’s Division of Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevention, said in a statement. “But patients need more oral options with fewer side effects. It is imperative that researchers and pharmaceutical companies prioritize research to continue to identify new, effective, better-tolerated drugs and drug combinations.”

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