What is the treatment for syphilitic meningitis?

Updated: Jul 16, 2019
  • Author: Rodrigo Hasbun, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

The treatment of choice for neurosyphilis is aqueous crystalline penicillin G (2-4 million U/day IV every 4 hours for 10-14 days), often followed with IM penicillin G benzathine (2.4 million U). An alternative is procaine penicillin G (2.4 million U/day IM) plus probenecid (500 mg orally every 6 hours for 14 days), followed by IM benzathine penicillin G (2.4 million U). These regimens are also used for neurosyphilis in patients with HIV infection. Because penicillin G is the treatment of choice, penicillin-allergic patients should undergo penicillin desensitization.

After treatment, CSF examination is repeated regularly (eg, every 6 months) to document the success of therapy. Failure of the cell count to normalize or the serologic titers to fall may warrant retreatment.


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