A pilot study evaluating ceftriaxone and penicillin G as treatment agents for neurosyphilis in human immunodeficieney virus-infected individuals

Academic Article


  • To compare intravenous (iv) ceftriaxone and penicillin G as therapy for neurosyphilis, blood and CSF were collected before and 14-26 weeks after therapy from 30 subjects infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-I who had (1) rapid plasma reagin (RPR) test titers ≥1: 16, (2) reactive serum treponemal tests, and (3) either reactive CSF-Venereal Disease Research Laboratory (VDRL) tests or CSF abnormalities: (a) CSF WBC values ≥20/μL or (b) CSF protein values ≥50 mg/dL. At baseline, more ceftriaxone recipients had skin symptoms and signs (6 [43%] of 14 vs. 1 [6%] of 16; P = .03), and more penicillin recipients had a history of neurosyphilis (7 [44%] of 16 vs. 1 [7%] of 14; P = .04). There was no difference in the proportion of subjects in each group whose CSF measures improved. Significantly more ceftriaxone recipients had a decline in serum RPR titers (8 [80%] of 10 vs. 2 [13%] of 15; P = .003), even after controlling for baseline RPR titer, skin symptoms and signs, or prior neurosyphilis were controlled for. Differences in the 2 groups limit comparisons between them. However, iv ceftriaxone may be an alternative to penicillin for treatment of HIV-infected patients with neurosyphilis and concomitant early syphilis.
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    Author List

  • Marra CM; Boutin P; McArthur JC; Hurwitz S; Simpson G; Haslett PAJ; Van Der Horst C; Nevin T; Hook EW
  • Start Page

  • 540
  • End Page

  • 544
  • Volume

  • 30
  • Issue

  • 3