The best antibiotic to treat chlamydia is doxycycline. If doxycycline cannot be taken, the second line choice of medication to treat chlamydia is azithromycin. Both treatments are over 90% effective and should only be taken if you, or a recent sexual partner, has tested positive for chlamydia.
What is chlamydia?
Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease that is spread by having sexual intercourse with someone who is infected. It is also possible to contract chlamydia by engaging in oral sex with someone who is carrying the infection. It is one of the most common STD’s in the UK, with over 180,000 new cases each year. The symptoms of chlamydia are not always present, with only 3 in 10 women and 5 in 10 men experiencing symptoms as a result of chlamydia. This is the reason it is so common, as people do not know they have the infection and spread it unknowingly. If you change sexual partners on a regular basis, or you have a new sexual partner, you should have a chlamydia test. Chlamydia is curable and can be treated with a short course of antibiotics. It will not go away on its own, as the immune system is unable to deal with it. Untreated chlamydia can cause infertility, and lead to other conditions such as Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, and reactive arthritis.
Doxycycline antibiotics to treat chlamydia
Doxycycline is the preferred choice for chlamydia treatment. It was previously a single dose of Azithromycin, but the guidelines have since changed. Doxycycline is an antibiotic that works by damaging the structure of bacteria, eliminating it from the body. The dose of doxycycline that is needed to cure chlamydia is one capsule, two times a day for 7 days. It is important to complete the course to ensure that the bacteria responsible for causing chlamydia is completely eradicated. You should also avoid having any indigestions remedies two hours before or after taking the capsule, as this can interfere with the absorption of doxycycline, reducing its effectiveness. If you vomit shortly after taking a capsule, you should take another one and let your doctor or pharmacist know, so that a replacement capsule can be provided. If you forget to take a capsule, you should take it when you remember, unless it is time for your next dose, in which case you should skip the forgotten dose. Doxycycline is not suitable for those that are pregnant or breastfeeding, or those that have a high exposure to sunlight. There are also certain drugs that it can interact with, and you should make your doctor aware of any medication you are taking. You should avoid unprotected sexual activity for 7 days after completing treatment, as there may still be traces of bacteria in your system. There isn’t any need to get retested after a course of antibiotics, as clinical trials have proven doxycycline to be extremely effective. However, if you have missed multiple doses, it is recommended to have an STD test at least one week after completing the treatment course. Common side-effects of doxycycline include headaches, stomach aches, nausea and sensitivity to sunlight.
Azithromycin antibiotics to treat chlamydia
Azithromycin is the second line option for treating chlamydia. It works by stopping the bacteria from producing proteins that are required for them to live. The bacteria eventually die, and with the help of the immune system, leave the body. Previously, the required dose of azithromycin required to treat chlamydia was 1g as a single dose. Due to antibiotic resistance, this has now changed. The updated guidelines state that azithromycin should be taken over a 3-day period. 1g should be taken on day 1, 500mg on day 2 and 500mg on day 3. It is important to complete the course in order to ensure that the infection is completely cleared from your system. Azithromycin should be used by patients who are unable to take doxycycline, for example, those that are pregnant or breastfeeding, those with a high exposure to sun or ultraviolet rays, those that are unlikely to complete a one week course of doxycycline, those with allergies, those taking any medication that may interact with doxycycline, and those with pre-existing medical conditions where doxycycline may not be suitable to take. Clinical trials have shown that azithromycin has a success rate of 96%. Due to its effectiveness, it is not necessary to have a chlamydia test once treatment has been completed, unless you have not finished the course, or you have engaged in unprotected sexual activity whilst taking the tablets, or within 7 days of having completed treatment. Common side-effects of azithromycin include headache, stomach upset and nausea.
How do I know if I have chlamydia?
The only way to know if you have chlamydia is by having a chlamydia test. This involves providing a urine sample that is analysed in a laboratory. Most of the time, chlamydia doesn’t have any symptoms, which is why it is important to get tested regularly, especially if you have a new sexual partner. Chlamydia symptoms can include pain when having sex, pain whilst urinating, lower stomach pain, genital discharge, tender and swollen testicles for men and bleeding in between periods for women. Only 30% of women, and 50% of men will display symptoms. It is the most common STD as it is spread unknowingly, which is why it is important to have a chlamydia test if you have a new sexual partner. If a recent sexual partner has tested positive, there is no need to get tested, and you should start treatment straight away.
So, what is the best treatment for chlamydia?
Current guidance from both the National Institute of Clinical Excellence and the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, state that doxycycline is the preferred and first-line treatment for chlamydia. This is due to antibiotic resistance, as research has shown that chlamydia responds better to doxycycline. Azithromycin should be used where doxycycline is not safe to be prescribed, and for patients who may experience difficulty in sticking to a one-week regime. To find out more information, you can visit our chlamydia FAQ’s.