Chlamydia Treatment

Treatment for chlamydia consists of taking antibiotics designed to eradicate the bacteria that cause the disease. Let's see which ones are approved, dosages and contraindications.
Chlamydia Treatment

Last update: 03 July, 2021

Chlamydia is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in young people. In Europe alone, it generates 250,000 cases each year, according to estimates by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). Although it can create several complications in the body, chlamydia treatment is usually very effective, especially in the early stages.

Doctors consider many factors when choosing the best therapy. These include side effects, age, health status, or specific conditions (such as pregnancy). Today we’ll look at all the treatment options for Chlamydia trachomatis, the bacteria that causes the infection.

Chlamydia treatment

Chlamydia treatment includes antibiotics
Antibiotics are essential for chlamydia treatment. Fortunately, there are several options available depending on the context.

As the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) points out , chlamydia treatment consists of drug therapy based on antibiotics. This is the only way to deal with the infection, with slight adjustments of the specific medication or dosage as appropriate.

In informal contexts, the use of douching or home remedies has become popular. None of these options are effective, and they may even worsen symptoms or motivate the development of secondary conditions. If you suspect that you have chlamydia, seek medical assistance to initiate safe treatment for you.

Having clarified this, and following the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) on how to deal with the disease, the main protocol to treat chlamydia is based on:

  • Azithromycin (Zithromax, Azimut, or Koptin): Azithromycin is the most widely used active compound to treat Chlamydia trachomatis infection. Usually, 1 gram is given as a single dose to be taken orally.
  • Doxycycline (Doryx or Vibramycin): Doxycycline administered for 7 days in intakes of 100 milligrams (twice a day) is also used.

Research indicates that both antibiotics are just as effective in treating chlamydia. Its effectiveness is around 97-98% at the end of therapy. The preference of one or the other is made based on the criteria of the specialist. When the focus of the infection is anorectal, the WHO suggests the use of doxycycline.

Second-line treatments

Alternative drug treatments suggested by the US CDC are as follows:

  • Erythromycin (Bronsema, Erythrogobens, Lagarmicin, or Pantomycin): administered in doses of 500 milligrams four times a day for one week. Research indicates that results are only positive when treatment is extended for 7 days, so shorter therapies are contraindicated.
  • Levofloxacin (Levaquin): with an oral intake based on 50 milligrams for 7 continuous days. Its eradication rate has been estimated at 92%.
  • Ofloxacin (Floxin, Oflovir, or Surnox): administered twice a day in doses of 300 milligrams. The 7-day treatment has proven to be safe and effective for patients.

As we have already pointed out, the choice must always be taken by a specialist. Don’t start treatment without their supervision, not even before the disease has been confirmed by a diagnosis.

Chlamydia treatment in pregnant women

Treatment of chlamydia during pregnancy is different
Since some antibiotics can become teratogenic or interfere with the development of pregnancy, treatment guidelines change.

Treatment of chlamydia in pregnant women differs from the above. The use of levofloxacin, ofloxacin and doxycycline has traditionally been considered adverse during this stage.

Although the few trials conducted stipulate the risks as low, animal testing is associated with harm to the neonate. Therefore, its use should be avoided in the absence of hard evidence.

The recommended therapy in this case is azithromycin and erythromycin. These are the WHO suggestions, which maintain the same doses outlined in the previous section. Studies recommend the use of the first drug during pregnancy because its effectiveness can reach up to 97%.

If there are allergic reactions or hypersensitivity to the formula, the use of amoxicillin is also supported. In this case the recommended dose is 500 milligrams, three times a day for a week.

Treatment of chlamydia in newborns

If not detected early, contact with the infected cervix during labor can expose the newborn baby to the disease. Normally, this manifests itself through conjunctivitis or pneumonia. Both must be confirmed through a diagnosis, after which the CDC suggests the following treatment:

  • Erythromycin (Bronsema, Erythrogobens, Lagarmicin or Pantomycin): 50 milligrams per kilo four times a day administered orally. The therapy must be maintained for 14 days.
  • Azithromycin (Zithromax, Azimut or Koptin): 20 milligrams per kilo administered orally for 3 days (once a day).

The evolution of the infection and possible adverse effects in the newborn child should be closely monitored. Treatment in adolescents, in general, doesn’t differ from that of adults, although the specialist always has the last word.

Consideration during therapy

Patients should refrain from sexual intercourse during treatment to avoid spreading the infection. If you have a stable partner, they should undergo the corresponding tests to rule out or diagnose the presence of the disease. If you test positive, you should also start antibiotic-based therapy.

It’s important to note that medications don’t treat the problems associated with chlamydia, they only kill the bacteria that cause the disease. Sequelae such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), trachoma, or lymphogranuloma venereum should be treated separately.

In turn, it must be remembered that chlamydia treatment doesn’t prevent the patient from becoming infected in the future. That’s why a change in some habits is recommended to reduce the chances of a reinfection. For example, using condoms is the first step in avoiding this and other STDs.

  • Lau, C. Y., & Qureshi, A. K. Azithromycin versus doxycycline for genital chlamydial infections: a meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. Sexually transmitted diseases. 2002; 29(9): 497-502.
  • Maiti, H., Chowdhury, F. H., Richmond, S. J., Stirland, R. M., Tooth, J. A., Bhattacharyya, M. N., & Stock, J. K. Ofloxacin in the treatment of uncomplicated gonorrhea and chlamydial genital infection. Clinical therapeutics. 1991; 13(4)_ 441-447.
  • Rahangdale, L., Guerry, S., Bauer, H. M., Packel, L., Rhew, M., Baxter, R., … & Bolan, G. (2006). An observational cohort study of Chlamydia trachomatis treatment in pregnancy. Sexually transmitted diseases. 2006; 33(2): 106-110.
  • Takahashi, S., Ichihara, K., Hashimoto, J., Kurimura, Y., Tsukamoto, T., Iwasawa, A., … & Satoh, T. Clinical efficacy of levofloxacin 500 mg once daily for 7 days for patients with non-gonococcal urethritis. Journal of Infection and Chemotherapy. 2011; 17(3): 392-396.
  • World Health Organization. WHO guidelines for the treatment of Chlamydia trachomatis. 2016.
  • Worm, A. M., Avnstorp, C., & Petersen, C. S. Erythromycin against Chlamydia trachomatis infections. A double blind study comparing 4-and 7-day treatment in men and women. Danish medical bulletin. 1985; 32(5): 269-271.

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