April 30, 2008 -- The CDC is getting the word out that a pill to treat gonorrhea is back on U.S. pharmacy shelves.
The CDC says that cefixime is the only pill it recommends for treating what is called "uncomplicated" gonorrhea. That means the sexually transmitted disease (STD) has not spread to the blood or central nervous system. The pill form of cefixime has not been available in the U.S. since 2002, although the drug has been available in liquid form.
There's been pressure to have a pill treatment since gonorrhea has become widely resistant to certain antibiotics (in the fluoroquinolone class).
Studies linking antibiotic resistance and gonorrhea prompted the CDC last year to drop its recommendation of fluoroquinolone antibiotics as a gonorrhea treatment.
John Douglas, director of the CDC's division of STD prevention, says in a news release that having cefixime pills available again is positive, but "the reality is that many more options are needed to combat the spread of this disease."
Douglas stressed that the need for "continued development of new gonorrhea drugs is crucial to stay ahead of any drug resistance that could develop and severely affect treatment for the hundreds of thousands of Americans with this disease."
Cefixime is provided by Lupin Pharmaceuticals Inc. and sold under the brand name Suprax.
Gonorrhea is the second most commonly reported infectious disease in the U.S, affecting some 700,000 Americans every year. People with gonorrhea should also be tested for other STDs. Often someone who has gonorrhea also has the STD chlamydia, so both are usually treated at the same time.