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September 5, 1980

Gonococcal Tenosynovitis-Dermatitis and Septic Arthritis: Intravenous Penicillin vs Oral Erythromycin

JAMA. 1980;244(10):1101-1102. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310100019020

Twenty-three patients with disseminated gonococcal infections—15 with acute tenosynovitis, six with septic monoarticular arthritis, and two with both—were randomly given five days of erythromycin stearate or estolate, 500 mg orally every six hours (13 patients), or crystalline aqueous penicillin G potassium, 1 million units intravenously every three hours for three days (ten patients). There were no treatment failures. Cultures taken one and seven days and two and four weeks after completion of therapy were uniformly negative. Clinical resolution was rapid in both groups, as judged by response of fever, joint tenderness, and disappearance of joint effusion. Orally administered erythromycin is a useful alternative to penicillin in the treatment of disseminated gonococcal infections, particularly in penicillinallergic pregnant women.

(JAMA 244:1101-1102, 1980)