CDC Recommends Antibiotic Use as a "Morning Pill" Against STDs

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Last reviewed: 14.06.2024

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04 June 2024, 21:00

Some people should consider taking an antibiotic as an emergency treatment to prevent some sexually transmitted infections, US health authorities recommend.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has endorsed the recommendation of taking doxycycline after unprotected sex as a way to prevent infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis.

CDC officials called it the first new tool for preventing sexually transmitted infections in decades and said innovation is urgently needed. Rates of syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea have been rising for years, especially among gay and bisexual men, although recent data showed that cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea stopped rising in 2022.

The new recommendation applies to gay, bisexual and transgender women who have had an STD in the past year and are at high risk of getting it again. Studies have shown that doxycycline is effective in this group, but there is not enough evidence to make the same recommendation for other people, agency officials said.

This treatment is called doxy PEP, which is short for doxycycline post-exposure prophylaxis. Doctors can write a prescription for one dose of 200 milligrams of doxycycline to be taken within three days after unprotected sex, the CDC says.

The CDC released draft guidelines in October. The proposed language was modified slightly following a public comment period. The changes include clarification that the pills should be taken no more than once every 24 hours, and that doctors should review the treatment regimen with patients every three to six months.

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