Gonorrhea’s Gone Amuck

The STI Gonorrhea is “clapping back” to usual treatments.

Gonorrhea, also known as the clap, has taken the world by storm since the medieval times. Treatments ranging from cinnamon to mercury have been tested to stop the sexually transmitted infection (STI), and the most fail proof treatment, 400mg of cefixime, has shown a decrease of effectiveness since 2006. While the percentages of resistance to the antibiotic have been low, the numbers are steadily increasing.

Cefixime is to be used for at least 8-10 days, but how many can honestly say that they have completed a regimen due to delayed symptoms? Bacteria and other infectious diseases can gain resistance by taking on a gene of the antibiotic used to fight it; is only one of the ways bacteria can replicate resistance genes. When regimens go uncompleted, that gives infected cells more time to replicate with a strand of the antibiotics’ DNA, thus making it resistant. And as expected, the more an infected person that has not completed the prescription has unprotected sex, the more the disease will spread. While there are other forms of treatment, such as the injectable antibiotic ceftriaxone, clinicians have decided that it would be too difficult for patients to complete as opposed to the failing, oral cefixime pill.

Like any other drug, there are drawbacks to using cefixime. There was a case study reported in 1999 of a 10 month old girl that had a burn on her hand. Her father, a physician, gave her cefixime as an antibiotic to treat the burn over the course of 8 days. After she was taken off the antibiotic, she showed signs of oedema, which is swelling caused by fluids, on her eyes and legs. It was deduced that cefixime caused nephrotic syndrome, which is a form of renal failure. Other risks cefixime causes are infertility and in rare cases, death.

As poetically described by James Boswell, gonorrhea can be described as “a little heat in the members of my body sacred to Cupid…” The best way to prevent gonorrhea is wrapping up, and once contracted, take the prescription in its entirety, because the clap is no clapping matter.

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