Trachoma Medication

Updated: Jan 18, 2023
  • Author: Andrew G Lee, MD; Chief Editor: Michael Taravella, MD  more...
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Medication Summary

The aim in treatment is to reduce the amount C trachomatis in the infection reservoir in the family. Treating an individual and not treating infected family members leaves the individual at risk for repeat infection. All family members, including infants, should be treated.

The antibiotic of choice for treating active trachoma is azithromycin. The dose for children is 20 mg/kg in a single dose; adults receive a single dose of 1 g. The second-line treatment is topical tetracycline eye ointment 1%. Topical tetracycline is applied to both eyes twice a day for 6 weeks.

If the patient lives in a hyperendemic area, the whole district (or whole community) is eligible for antibiotic treatment.



Class Summary

Antibiotic therapy is part of the WHO SAFE strategy for trachoma.

Azithromycin (Zithromax)

Azithromycin is a macrolide antibiotic and is the drug of choice for trachoma. Plasma concentrations are low, but tissue concentrations are higher, giving it value in treating intracellular organisms. It has a long tissue half-life. A single dose is recommended.

1% Tetracycline ointment (Achromycin)

Inhibits bacterial protein synthesis by binding with 30S and possibly 50S ribosomal subunit. Use if azithromycin is unavailable. Minimal systemic adverse effects.

Azithromycin ophthalmic (AzaSite)

Azithromycin ophthalmic is an ophthalmic macrolide antibiotic indicated for bacterial conjunctivitis caused by CDC coryneform group G bacteria, Haemophilus influenzae, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus mitis group, and Streptococcus pneumoniae.