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May 1961

Erythromycin in Treatment of Early Syphilis

Author Affiliations


Clinical Instructor of Medicine (Dr. Montgomery), and Associate Professor of Dermatology (Dr. Knox), Baylor University College of Medicine; Senior Assistant Surgeon, United States Public Health Service, Savannah, Ga. (Dr. Sciple); Senior Assistant Surgeon, United States Public Health Service, Houston, Tex. (Dr. Vander Stoep).

Arch Intern Med. 1961;107(5):732-735. doi:10.1001/archinte.1961.03620050098010

While the treponemicidal properties of erythromycin were first described in 1953 by Keller and Morton,1 it is only recently that adequate clinical information has become available. Keller and Morton, as well as Turner and Schaeffer,2 were able to demonstrate Treponema pallidum more susceptible to the action of erythromycin than other antibiotics with the exception of penicillin. Later, Kolmer3 reported similar treponemicidal properties to erythromycin but obtained superior results with several other antibiotics. In 1954 Alexander and Schoch4 treated 4 patients with syphilitic lesions with erythromycin and observed rapid disappearance of Treponema pallidum from the lesions. In 1956 Montero5 presented 27 patients with early syphilis treated with a total of 9 to 12 gm. of erythromycin with satisfactory results. In 1959 Montgomery and Knox6 reported on 40 darkfield-positive cases of early syphilis treated with 9 to 10 gm. of erythromycin stearate over a period of

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