Treatments of Syphilis

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Treatments for Syphilis Early Infections

At any time during the first two stages, syphilis can be treated with a completed course of antibiotic. Afterwards you must have blood tests to ensure the treatment has worked. Do not have sex until two weeks after you and your partner have finished the treatment. The period of treatment for tertiary syphilis may be longer.

Your sexual partner(s) may also need treatment depending on the contact history and the stage of infection. Please discuss this issue with your doctor.

Another treatment for Syphilis is usually with intramuscular injection of Penicillin-G as a single dose or three doses once a week for 3 weeks depending on which stage of infection the person is at. Ceftriaxone may be used in people who are allergic to Penicillin. Follow-up VDRL test is usually done 1, 3, 6 and 9 months after treatment.

A drop in VDRL titre should be observed. Reactivation of infection is not common but re-infection is quite common if partner(s) are not being treated. Therefore it is important to inform partners within the last 6 months.

Treatments for Syphilis Late Infections

For neurosyphilis, due to the poor penetration of benzylpenicillin into the central nervous system, those affected are recommended to be given large doses of intravenous penicillin for a minimum of 10 days. If a person is allergic, ceftriaxone may be used or penicillin desensitization attempted. Other late presentations may be treated with once-weekly intramuscular benzylpenicillin for three weeks. If allergic, as in the case of early disease, doxycycline or tetracycline may be used, albeit for a longer duration. Treatment at this stage limits further progression but has only slight effect on damage which has already occurred.

Side Effects

One of the potential side effects of treatment is the Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction. It frequently starts within one hour and lasts for 24 hours, with symptoms of fever, muscle pains, headache, and a fast heart rate. It is caused by cytokines released by the immune system in response to lipoproteins released from rupturing syphilis bacteria.

Tests we provide at Neo-Health:

Syphilis Rapid Test

Syphilis VDRL

T. Pallidum Antibody



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