Antibiotics for gonorrhea


Generic Name Brand Name
cefixime Suprax
ceftriaxone Rocephin

How It Works

Antibiotics kill the gonorrhea bacteria.

Why It Is Used

These antibiotics are used to treat:

  • A person who has a positive gonorrhea test.
  • Sex partners within the past 60 days of a person diagnosed with gonorrhea, whether or not they have symptoms or used condoms.
  • A newborn whose mother has gonorrhea at the time of delivery.

How Well It Works

Antibiotic treatment, when taken exactly as directed, normally cures gonorrhea infections. If antibiotics are not taken properly, the infection will not be cured.

Certain strains of the gonorrhea bacteria have become resistant to some antibiotics, including quinolones, penicillin, tetracycline, and sulfa drugs. When bacteria become resistant to an antibiotic, they no longer can be killed by that medicine.

Side Effects

The most common side effects of medicines used to treat gonorrhea are nausea and vomiting.

If you have side effects and cannot control them, contact your health professional. Another antibiotic may be prescribed that causes fewer side effects.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

It isn't unusual for a person to have a chlamydia infection along with gonorrhea infection. In this case, an antibiotic that kills chlamydia is used along with one that kills gonorrhea.

To be effective, antibiotics need to be taken exactly as directed. If doses are missed or treatment is not completed, the gonorrhea infection may not be cured.

Call your health professional if symptoms continue or new symptoms develop 3 to 4 weeks after treatment.

Do not engage in any sexual activity:

  • While you are being treated for a sexually transmitted disease (STD). If you are prescribed a single-dose antibiotic, do not have sex for 7 days after treatment so the medicine will have time to work.
  • Until your sex partner has been tested and treated (if infected). This is critical, whether your partner has symptoms or not.

For disseminated gonococcal infection (DGI), antibiotic treatment is usually given intravenously (IV) or as a shot (injection). Hospital care is sometimes needed.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.

Last Updated: April 27, 2009

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