Macrolide-Resistant Mycoplasma genitalium Impairs Clinical Improvement of Male Urethritis After Empirical Treatment

Sex Transm Dis. 2022 May 1;49(5):360-367. doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0000000000001591.


Background: Mycoplasma genitalium (MG) is associated with urethritis in men and could play a role in clinical outcome. We examined clinical improvement of symptoms in men receiving empirical treatment for urethritis and correlated the outcome with Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG), Chlamydia trachomatis (CT), MG, and MG macrolide resistance-associated mutations (MRAM) status.

Methods: At the sexually transmitted infection clinic in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, empirical treatment for gonococcal urethritis is 1 g ceftriaxone and for nongonococcal urethritis 1 g azithromycin. In 2018 to 2019, we tested urine samples of men with urethritis for CT, NG, and MG using transcription-mediated amplification assays. Mycoplasma genitalium-positive samples were tested for MRAM using quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Two weeks after receiving therapy, men were sent a text message inquiring after clinical improvement.

Results: We evaluated 2505 cases of urethritis. The positivity rates of NG, CT, and MG were 26% (648 of 2489), 29% (726 of 2489), and 23% (522 of 2288), respectively. In 768 of 2288 of the cases (34%), no causative agent was detected. Most cases were infected with a single pathogen: NG, 417 of 2288 (18%); CT, 486 of 2288 (21%); and MG, 320 of 2288 (14%). The prevalence of MRAM among MG-positives was 74% (327 of 439). For 642 (25.6%) cases, we could evaluate clinical improvement after treatment of whom 127 (20%) indicated no improvement; 9% (15 of 174) in NG cases, 18% (35 of 195) in CT cases, 14% (4 of 28) in MG wild-type cases, and 40% (38 of 94) in MG-MRAM cases. Clinical improvement in MG-MRAM cases was significantly lower compared with all other groups (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Presence of MG-MRAM is associated with lack of clinical improvement in azithromycin-treated nongonococcal urethritis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Azithromycin / therapeutic use
  • Chlamydia trachomatis
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial / genetics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Macrolides / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Mycoplasma Infections* / diagnosis
  • Mycoplasma genitalium* / genetics
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / genetics
  • Urethritis* / diagnosis


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Macrolides
  • Azithromycin