Treatment Effectiveness of Azithromycin and Doxycycline in Uncomplicated Rectal and Vaginal Chlamydia trachomatis Infections in Women: A Multicenter Observational Study (FemCure)

Nicole H. T. M. Dukers-Muijrers*, Petra F. G. Wolffs, Henry de Vries, Hannelore M. Gotz, Titia Heijman, Sylvia Bruisten, Lisanne Eppings, Arjan Hogewoning, Mieke Steenbakkers, Mayk Lucchesi, Maarten F. Schim van der Loeff, Christian J. P. A. Hoebe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

30 Citations (Web of Science)


Background. Rectal infections with Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) are prevalent in women visiting a sexually transmitted infection outpatient clinic, but it remains unclear what the most effective treatment is. We assessed the effectiveness of doxycycline and azithromycin for the treatment of rectal and vaginal chlamydia in women.

Methods. This study is part of a prospective multicenter cohort study (FemCure). Treatment consisted of doxycycline (100 mg twice daily for 7 days) in rectal CT-positive women, and of azithromycin (1 g single dose) in vaginally positive women who were rectally untested or rectally negative. Participants self-collected rectal and vaginal samples at enrollment (treatment time-point) and during 4 weeks of follow-up. The endpoint was microbiological cure by a negative nucleic acid amplification test at 4 weeks. Differences between cure proportions and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated.

Results. We analyzed 416 patients, of whom 319 had both rectal and vaginal chlamydia at enrollment, 22 had rectal chlamydia only, and 75 had vaginal chlamydia only. In 341 rectal infections, microbiological cure in azithromycin-treated women was 78.5% (95% CI, 72.6%-83.7%; n = 164/209) and 95.5% (95% CI, 91.0%-98.2%; n = 126/132) in doxycycline-treated women (difference, 17.0% [95% CI, 9.6%-24.7%]; P <.001). In 394 vaginal infections, cure was 93.5% (95% CI, 90.1%-96.1%; n = 246/263) in azithromycin-treated women and 95.4% (95% CI, 90.9%-98.2%; n = 125/131) in doxycycline-treated women (difference, 1.9% [95% CI, -3.6% to 6.7%]; P = .504).

Conclusions. The effectiveness of doxycycline is high and exceeds that of azithromycin for the treatment of rectal CT infections in women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1946-1954
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


  • women
  • Chlamydia trachomatis
  • rectal
  • treatment effectiveness
  • MEN

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