What’s left in the cupboard? Older antimicrobials for treating gonorrhoea

Fifer, Helen, Livermore, David ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9856-3703, Uthayakumaran, Thinushaa, Woodford, Neil and Cole, Michelle J. (2021) What’s left in the cupboard? Older antimicrobials for treating gonorrhoea. Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, 76 (5). 1215–1220. ISSN 0305-7453

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Background: Neisseria gonorrhoeae has developed resistance to all antimicrobials used to treat gonorrhoea, with even ceftriaxone being undermined. It is therefore important to examine any potential to redeploy older antimicrobials routinely used for other infections to treat ceftriaxone-resistant gonococcal infections. Objectives: We examined the susceptibility of N. gonorrhoeae to aztreonam, chloramphenicol, co-trimoxazole, fosfomycin, piperacillin/tazobactam and rifampicin. Methods: N. gonorrhoeae isolates (n = 94) were selected to include a range of antimicrobial susceptibilities: 58 were collected in the Gonococcal Resistance to Antimicrobials Surveillance Programme; 17 were clinical isolates referred to the PHE reference laboratory; and 19 were control strains. MICs were determined by agar dilution for the six study antimicrobials and for ceftriaxone and azithromycin as comparators. Results: There was correlation between piperacillin/tazobactam and ceftriaxone MICs, but all five isolates with high ceftriaxone MICs (>0.5 mg/L) were inhibited by piperacillin/tazobactam at 0.06–0.5 mg/L. Aztreonam MICs for ceftriaxone-resistant isolates exceeded those of ceftriaxone. Among non-β-lactams, fosfomycin and co-trimoxazole had low, tightly clustered MICs, suggesting widespread susceptibility, rifampicin split the collection into highly susceptible and highly resistant groups and chloramphenicol had a wide MIC distribution. Conclusions: Although unsuitable for empirical use, piperacillin/tazobactam, fosfomycin, co-trimoxazole, rifampicin and, possibly, chloramphenicol could be considered for individual patients with ceftriaxone-resistant gonococcal infection once MICs are known. Wider surveillance of the susceptibility of N. gonorrhoeae to these agents is needed, along with clinical trials and the establishment of clinical breakpoints for N gonorrhoeae.

Item Type: Article
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Research Groups > Public Health and Health Services Research (former - to 2023)
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Research Groups > Epidemiology and Public Health
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2021 00:57
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2022 07:36
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/78042
DOI: 10.1093/jac/dkaa559


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