UK patients with gonorrhoea often given outdated antibiotics

30 May 2015

Research published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) Open has found that many people with gonorrhoea in the UK are often given outdated antibiotics. 

The team looked at electronic health records entered anonymously into the Clinical Practice Research Datalink, which keeps details of around 5.5 million patients registered with 680 general practices around the UK.

They looked at how doctors had treated the two most common bacterial sexually transmitted infections in England - Chlamydia and gonorrhoea - between 2000 and 2011.

During this time, GPs diagnosed around 193,000 people with Chlamydia and nearly 17,000 with gonorrhoea. Most (90 per cent) of those diagnosed with Chlamydia were prescribed an antibiotic in line with national clinical guidance. However, 42 per cent of people with gonorrhea in 2007 were given an antibiotic that was discontinued in 2005. 

A fifth (20 per cent) were given the same outdated treatment in 2011 by their GPs.

This, according to the researchers, is a concern as the UK is failing to stick to national clinical guidance, despite the global threat of antibiotic resistance.

"Treatment of infections with reduced susceptibility or resistance to the prescribed therapy may inadvertently facilitate onward transmission and risks infection complications," they write.

Posted by Phillip Briggs

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