Syphilis and the Bicillin-LA shortage: CDC offers treatment suggestions - Outbreak News Today | Outbreak News Today Outbreak News Today
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In a follow-up to a report in late April concerning the shortage of the antibiotic, Bicillin-L-A, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) release some updates and recommendations today on the use of Bicillin-L-A.

Image/CDC

Image/CDC

Until normal quantities of Bicillin L-A (penicillin G benzathine) are available, CDC suggests the following:

  1. Refrain from the use of penicillin G benzathine for treatment of other infectious diseases (e.g., streptococcal pharyngitis) where other effective antimicrobials are available.
  2. Adhere to the recommended dosing regimen of 2.4 million units of penicillin G benzathine IM for the treatment of primary, secondary, and early latent syphilis (i.e., early syphilis) as outlined in the 2015 STD Treatment Guidelines. Additional doses to treat early syphilis do not enhance efficacy, including in patients living with HIV infection.
  3. Contact your pharmacists/distributors to procure penicillin G benzathine if you do not have product readily available.  If product reaches a critical supply level of three weeks or less, notify the Pfizer Supply Continuity Team at (844) 804-4677 to inquire about an emergency supply.  Also, alert your state or local STD Prevention Program of any shortage of Bicillin L-A® (penicillin G benzathine), as they are informing CDC of any shortages.
  4. Direct questions about syphilis clinical management to an infectious disease specialist or the online National Network of STD Clinical Prevention Training Centers (NNPTC) STD Clinical Consultation Network (https://www.stdccn.org).

Penicillin G benzathine is the recommended treatment for syphilis and the only recommended treatment for pregnant women infected or exposed to syphilis. Pfizer, the sole manufacturer of Bicillin L-A (penicillin G benzathine) in the United States is experiencing a manufacturing delay of this product. CDC is working with FDA’s Drug Shortage Staff and Pfizer to address this situation.

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