Purpose: To compare the safety and efficacy of single oral-dose azithromycin with a 7-week topical tetracycline ointment course in the treatment of active trachoma.
Methods: A total of 64 patients with active trachoma were selected randomly to receive azithromycin (20 mg/kg) in a single dose or topical tetracycline eye ointment for 6 weeks. Clinical assessments were made before and at 4, 8, 12, and 24 weeks after treatment. Conjunctival scrapings were obtained before and after 24 weeks after treatment and fixed for Giemsa and direct immunofluorescence staining.
Results: Trachoma resolved in 17 (63.3%) patients who received azithromycin compared with 19 (65.4%) who were treated with tetracycline ointment. There were no significant differences in treatment effect or baseline characteristics between the treatment groups. Both treatments were well tolerated, and no adverse events were noted.
Conclusion: Single-dose azithromycin is as effective as a 6-week course of topical tetracycline ointment in the treatment of active trachoma. The findings may help establish high compliance in treating trachoma and could contribute to the control of trachoma worldwide.