Side Effects from Treatment for Syphilis


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As with all drugs, it is possible for side effects to occur whilst taking antibiotics. The majority of people either do not get any side effects at all or they experience some less severe side effects. Therefore, the positive effects of the medicine outweigh the negative effects. However, if this comes to not be the case, or if the side effects experienced persist for a prolonged period of time it is important to seek medical attention from a GP or emergency services and not to just stop taking the medicine.  You should call 999 straight away if you begin to have a severe allergic reaction characterised by swelling and wide spread rashes or trouble breathing.  A doctor should be called if you begin to get severe pains in your gastrointestinal tract, decreased urine production, mental health changes such as depression or unusual bleeding.  More common side effects such as diarrhoea, headaches, thrush or sore mouth generally should not cause too much concern but if they do persist for a long time after treatment has ceased then you should see your doctor.

A very uncommon effect experienced in only a small number of individuals is the Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction. The primary symptoms of this reaction are very flu like in their manifestation, so you are likely to experience headaches, fever and muscle and joint pain. It is believed the cause of the reaction is due to the toxins that are released from the bacteria as they are killed through the antibiotic treatment. Symptoms cause no serious long terms problems and only tend to last around 24 hours. Paracetamol, available from your local chemist, is all that is required to treat the side effects but if they become severe or prolonged you should consult your GP or the local GUM clinic for further advice.

Before you take a medicine you have never taken before, a pharmacist or doctor should detail any potential effects the medicine could have or interactions with any medication you may already be taking. In addition, this information should also be available to you in a leaflet that is provided with the medicine.  With antibiotics, it is especially important to complete the course of treatment prescribed even if the symptoms have subsided. This is to ensure all the bacteria have been killed therefore the infection completely cured as if even a few remain, these will be able to replicate hence symptoms will resurface. The infection may even be harder to cure so this is a very important point to remember.


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