New Test Could Identify Optimal Gonorrhea Treatment


A laboratory test that could potentially identify gonorrhea infections that may be more treatable with antibiotics.

Researchers from UCLA have developed a laboratory test that could potentially identify gonorrhea infections that may be more treatable with antibiotics. The research, conducted at UCLA’s hospitals, emergency departments, and primary care clinics, was published in Clinical Infectious Diseases.1

A rise in the rate of antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea infections prompted health officials to urge better treatment options to prevent the spread of multidrug resistant infections. The development of this new test could allow health care professionals to better target treatment options.

Officials with the CDC stopped recommending the use of ciprofloxacin for the treatment of sexually transmitted infections after resistance to the drug began to emerge in 2007, even though 80% of gonorrhea infections remained treatable with the antibiotic.2 The UCLA researchers aimed to create a method to better identify cases for targeted use of ciprofloxacin therapy to reduce the risk of increased resistance to ceftriaxone.

The researchers developed a test to detect ciprofloxacin-resistant gonorrhea infections by pinpointing a specific genetic change, and used the test for all patients with gonorrhea over a 9-month period. The researchers then compared treatments used before and after test introduction.

After monitoring gonorrhea treatments used by physicians, the researchers determined that the physicians appropriately adapted treatment choices pertaining to the test’s results. No longer used 100% of the time, ceftriaxone dropped to being used for 60% of all patients with gonnorhea. Meanwhile, ciprofloxacin use boosted from 0% to 40%.

The researchers concluded that reintroducing antibiotics, such as ciprofloxacin, that were once effective treatments could reduce the chances of emerging infections resistant to commonly used drugs, such as ceftriaxone.


  • Allan-Blitz L, Humphries RM, Hemarajata P, et al. Implementation of a rapid genotypic assay to promote targeted ciprofloxacin therapy of Neisseria gonorrhoeae in a large health system. Clin Infect Dis. 2017. 64(9): 1268-1270. doi:
  • Scientists develop test to identify best treatment for gonorrhea [news release]. UCLA’s website. Accessed May 23, 2017.

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