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Novmber 8, 1976

Neurosyphilis and Penicillin Levels in Cerebrospinal Fluid

Author Affiliations

From the Infectious Disease Section, Department of Medicine, Veterans Administration Hospital and Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City. Dr Jackson is now with the Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn.

JAMA. 1976;236(19):2208-2209. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03270200046031

Because neurosyphilis may progress despite therapy with the recommended penicillin regimens, 15 subjects with positive tests for syphilis in the serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) were studied. All of these patients had CSF pleocytosis. Two received penicillin G (5 and 10 million units per day intravenously, respectively) and 13 received benzathine penicillin G, 3.6 million units per week intramuscularly; treatment lasted four weeks. During intravenous and after intramuscular penicillin therapy, a spinal tap was performed on all subjects; later, assays were done. Of two patients who received intravenous penicillin G, one had 0.3μg/ml and the other had 2.4μg/ ml penicillin in the CSF. Twelve of 13 patients who received benzathine penicillin G had no detectable penicillin in the CSF; one patient had 0.1μg/ml penicillin in the CSF.

(JAMA 236:2208-2209, 1976)