Syphilis Treatment

Syphilis Treatment

If treated early, patients with syphilis can expect a full recovery. Patients receive one to three injections of an antibiotic called penicillin. This medication kills the bacterium and cures syphilis. Even if a pregnant mother receives treatment for syphilis, the newborn should also receive antibiotics as a precautionary measure. Patients should avoid sexual contact with their partners during treatment in order to prevent transmitting the infection.

During the first day of antibiotic treatment, many patients experience the Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction. Researchers believe that this reaction occurs because so many bacteria are dying at once. Symptoms, which usually only last one day, may include fever, nausea, aching pain, and headache.

Sexual partners of patients who have been diagnosed with syphilis should be tested and treated forĀ STDs.

Alternative Therapies

Unclear or conflicting scientific evidence


Limited available evidence suggests that alizarin may be of benefit in the treatment of viral infections. Additional research is needed in this area.
Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to alizarin or any plants in the Rubiaceae family. Alizarin may be toxic and should not be handled for long periods of time, rubbed in the eyes, or eaten.

Avoid if pregnant or breastfeeding.

Selected References
American Social Health Association. Accessed April 28, 2009.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Accessed April 28, 2009.
Cline JS. Sexually transmitted diseases: will this problem ever go away? N C Med J. 2006 Sep-Oct;67(5):353-8.
Rupp RE, Stanberry LR, Rosenthal SL. Vaccines for sexually transmitted infections. Pediatr Ann. 2005 Oct;34(10):818-20, 822-4.
World Health Organization (WHO). Accessed April 28, 2009.
Zhou P, Qian Y, Xu J, et al. Occurrence of Congenital Syphilis After Maternal Treatment With Azithromycin During Pregnancy. Sex Transm Dis. 2007 Jul;34(7):472-474.