07/06/23 Health Advisory: Syphilis Treatment Impacted by Bicillin L-A Shortage

Mother holds her child.

Penicillin G benzathine (Bicillin L-A) is in short supply due to increased demand. Syphilis is increasing in all groups, especially in heterosexual people. Reserve Bicillin L-A for pregnant people with or exposed to syphilis, or babies with congenital syphilis. Read on for syphilis:

  • Treatment.
  • Testing with reverse algorithm.

Reserve Bicillin L-A for pregnant people.

Reserve Bicillin L-A to treat pregnant people and babies with congenital syphilis.
CDC recommends the following syphilis treatment during the shortage:

  • Early latent: doxycycline 100mg twice daily for 14 days.
  • Late latent or unknown duration: doxycycline 100mg twice daily for 28 days.

Contact us to see if the patient really needs syphilis treatment. Some people will continue to test positive for syphilis even after correct treatment.

If your facility does not have enough Bicillin L-A for someone who needs treatment, the Health Department may be able to assist.

We recommend testing using the reverse algorithm.

It’s what the Washington Public Health Lab uses. It can be more cost-efficient, too. Learn more about the reverse testing algorithm on our provider page.

Test people age 45 or younger who have sex.

Report suspected or confirmed cases within 3 days.

Fax a Confidential STD Case Report Form to (360) 221-8480. For more information, see our syphilis information for providers page.