Treatment efficacy, treatment failures and selection of macrolide resistance in patients with high load of Mycoplasma genitalium during treatment of male urethritis with josamycin

BMC Infect Dis. 2015 Feb 3:15:40. doi: 10.1186/s12879-015-0781-7.


Background: Azithromycin has been widely used for Mycoplasma genitalium treatment internationally. However, the eradication efficacy has substantially declined recent decade. In Russia, josamycin (another macrolide) is the recommended first-line treatment for M. genitalium infections, however, no data regarding treatment efficacy with josamycin and resistance in M. genitalium infections have been internationally published. We examined the M. genitalium prevalence in males attending an STI clinic in Moscow, Russia from December 2006 to January 2008, investigated treatment efficacy with josamycin in male urethritis, and monitored the M. genitalium DNA eradication dynamics and selection of macrolide resistance in M. genitalium during this treatment.

Methods: Microscopy and real-time PCRs were used to diagnose urethritis and non-viral STIs, respectively, in males (n = 320). M. genitalium positive patients were treated with recommended josamycin regimen and treatment efficacy was monitored using quantitative real-time PCR. Macrolide resistance mutations were identified using sequencing of the 23S rRNA gene.

Results: Forty-seven (14.7%) males were positive for M. genitalium only and most (85.1%) of these had symptoms and signs of urethritis. Forty-six (97.9%) males agreed to participate in the treatment efficacy monitoring. All the pre-treatment M. genitalium specimens had wild-type 23S rRNA. The elimination of M. genitalium DNA was substantially faster in patients with lower pre-treatment M. genitalium load, and the total eradication rate was 43/46 (93.5%). Of the six patients with high pre-treatment M. genitalium load, three (50%) remained positive post-treatment and these positive specimens contained macrolide resistance mutations in the 23S rRNA gene, i.e., A2059G (n = 2) and A2062G (n = 1).

Conclusions: M. genitalium was a frequent cause of male urethritis in Moscow, Russia. The pre-treatment M. genitalium load might be an effective predictor of eradication efficacy with macrolides (and possibly additional antimicrobials) and selection of macrolide resistance. Additional in vivo and in vitro data are crucial to support the recommendation of using josamycin as first-line treatment for M. genitalium infections in Russia. It would be valuable to develop international M. genitalium management guidelines, and quantitative diagnostic PCRs determining also M. genitalium load and resistance mutations (for macrolides and ideally also moxifloxacin) should ideally be recommended.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Bacterial Load* / drug effects
  • Bacterial Load* / genetics
  • DNA, Bacterial / analysis
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Josamycin / pharmacology
  • Josamycin / therapeutic use*
  • Macrolides / pharmacology*
  • Macrolides / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mycoplasma Infections / drug therapy*
  • Mycoplasma Infections / epidemiology
  • Mycoplasma Infections / microbiology
  • Mycoplasma genitalium / drug effects
  • Mycoplasma genitalium / genetics
  • Mycoplasma genitalium / isolation & purification*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Prevalence
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Russia / epidemiology
  • Treatment Failure
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Urethritis / drug therapy*
  • Urethritis / epidemiology
  • Urethritis / microbiology
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Macrolides
  • Josamycin