Kinetic study of serum penicillin concentrations after single doses of benzathine and benethamine penicillins in young and old people

Br J Vener Dis. 1980 Dec;56(6):355-62. doi: 10.1136/sti.56.6.355.


In a comparative kinetic study of the serum concentrations of two penicillin complexes--medium-long-acting (benethamine penicillin) and long-acting (benzathine bipenicillin)--after a single injection in young adults and elderly people, the following results were confirmed statistically: (a) age was a major factor in the variations in serum penicillin concentrations and in their persistence in the serum; (b) the penicillin was absorbed faster in young than in elderly subjects even when a long-acting complex was used; (c) serum concentrations below the level regarded as lethal for treponemes appeared much earlier and more frequently in young than in old people; and (d) the bioequivalence between penicillin preparations could not be estimated solely for the number of units of the agent used but from the bioavailability of the chosen formulation. Thus a uniform and standard penicillin dosage allowing no safety margin may help in the superficial healing of a syphilitic chancre or the resolution of a roseola but it will certainly be insufficient to kill Treponema pallidum. It seems essential therefore to provide an antibiotic cover at high dosage over a long period of time.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Biological Availability
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Penicillin G / administration & dosage
  • Penicillin G / analogs & derivatives*
  • Penicillin G Benzathine / administration & dosage*
  • Penicillins / blood*
  • Syphilis / drug therapy


  • Penicillins
  • benethamine penicillin
  • Penicillin G
  • Penicillin G Benzathine