In 1953, Keller and Morton1 first reported on the treponemicidal properties of erythromycin in vitro, utilizing a variety of treponemal strains. They reported cultivatable treponema to be very susceptible to the action of erythromycin. The following year, Turner and Schaeffer2 confirmed their report by comparing the effectiveness of various antibiotics in experimental rabbit syphilis. They found Treponema pallidum more sensitive to erythromycin and carbomycin than to any of the other antibiotics except penicillin and suggested further therapeutic trials. On the other hand, Kolmer3 in a similar comparative study reported both oxytetracycline and tetracycline superior to erythromycin in treponemicidal properties.
In 1954, Alexander and Schoch4 reported on four patients with early syphilis treated with 200 mg. of oral erythromycin four times daily for eight days (total dose of 6.4 gm.). T. pallidum disappeared from the lesions in 24 to 30 hours,
MONTGOMERY CH, KNOX JM. Erythromycin in the Treatment of Early Syphilis: A Preliminary Report. AMA Arch Derm. 1959;80(2):205–209. doi:10.1001/archderm.1959.01560200073009
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