Infect Chemother.  2011 Jun;43(3):262-265. 10.3947/ic.2011.43.3.262.

Treatment of Neurosyphilis with Ceftriaxone in a Patient Infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul Veterans Hospital, Seoul, Korea. schenics@naver.com

Abstract

The optimal and alternative antimicrobial regimens to treat neurosyphilis in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infected patients remain controversial. Little is known concerning the efficacy of ceftriaxone. A 75-year-old heterosexual man visited an outpatient clinic due to incidentally detected positive serum Venereal disease research laboratory (VDRL) and Fluorescent treponemal antibody absorbed tests in routine preoperative checkup. Because of benzathine penicillin was unavailable to use, 4-week regimen with doxycycline was started. After 2 weeks doxycycline treatment, a severe headache suddenly occurred. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis showed mild lymphocyte-dominant pleocytosis, increased protein, and weakly reactive VDRL test. ELISA for HIV antibody and Western blot assay revealed he is infected with HIV. Initial CD4+ T cell count was 220/mm3 and the load of HIV RNA was 5,200 copies/mL. The most probable diagnosis was deemed to be neurosyphilis, considering the possibilities of Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction or doxycycline-induced pseudotumor cerebri. In the absence of procaine penicillin G in our hospital, intravenous ceftriaxone was administered and highly active antiretroviral therapy was started. After 14days of treatment, the patient no longer had a headache and the CSF profile was improved. Additional follow-up CSF analysis was done 3months after treatment. CSF pleocytosis and protein level were decreased and the CSF VDRL was converted to negative. Ceftriaxone may be a good alternative in the treatment of neurosyphilis in HIV infected patient.

Keyword

Neurosyphilis; Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV); Ceftriaxone

MeSH Terms

Aged
Ambulatory Care Facilities
Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active
Blotting, Western
Ceftriaxone
Cell Count
Doxycycline
Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
Ethylenediamines
Follow-Up Studies
Headache
Heterosexuality
HIV
Humans
Leukocytosis
Neurosyphilis
Penicillin G Benzathine
Penicillin G Procaine
Pseudotumor Cerebri
RNA
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Ceftriaxone
Doxycycline
Ethylenediamines
Penicillin G Benzathine
Penicillin G Procaine
RNA
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