The goals of treatment are to cure the infection and slow the disorder from getting worse. The doctor will prescribe penicillin or other antibiotics, such as doxycycline, to treat the infection. Treatment may continue until the infection has completely cleared.
Treating the infection will reduce new nerve damage, but it will not cure damage that has already occurred. A follow-up examination of the cerebrospinal fluid is needed to see whether the antibiotic therapy worked.
Treatment of symptoms is needed for existing nervous system damage. Seizures rarely occur, but emergency treatment may be needed if they do. Anticonvulsants (such as phenytoin) can help control seizures.
Patients who are unable to care for themselves may need help with such activities as eating and dressing. Those with muscle weakness may need occupational therapy or physical therapy.
Without treatment, people can become disabled. People with late syphilis infections are more likely to get other infections and diseases.
- Inability to care for yourself
- Inability to communicate or interact with others
- Injury due to seizures or falls
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if you know you have been exposed to syphilis or other venereal disease in the past, and have not already been treated.
Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of general paresis, especially if you know you've been infected with syphilis.
Go to the emergency room or call the local emergency number (such as 911) if you have seizures.