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April 24, 1972

Penicillin in the Treatment of Gonorrhea

JAMA. 1972;220(4):589. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03200040101038

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To the Editor.—  The article by Neumann and Baecker on treatment of gonorrhea (219:471, 1972) may give physicians the wrong impression concerning the prevalence of penicillin sensitivity in the United States, although it may accurately reflect local conditions in New Haven. Nationwide, the rate of reaction to penicillin therapy seems to be relatively stable. Data collected by the Center for Disease Control and summarized in "VD Fact Sheet-1971" (Department of Health, Education, and Welfare Publication [HSM] 72-8085) shows the following rates of reactions to penicillin therapy over a 20-year-period:Urticaria was the most frequent manifestation seen, occurring in four to six per 1,000 patients treated. Anaphylactic reactions were observed in.21 to.36 per 1,000 patients.These rates reflect the incidence of reactions in patients who give no history of penicillin allergy. Although there was no specific mention, the percentage of patients giving a history of penicillin allergy has also remained