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Expedited Partner Therapy (EPT)

Guidance for Health Care Professionals in Illinois

EPT is the clinical practice of treating the sex partners of patients diagnosed with chlamydia or gonorrhea by providing prescriptions or medications to the patient to take to his/her partner without the health care provider first examining the partner. EPT is an effective treatment option to increase the likelihood of treatment for sex partners, thus reducing re-infection rates and overall sexually transmitted disease (STD) rates in a community.

EPT has been legal in Illinois since January 2010.

The law protects prescribing clinicians from civil and professional liability, except for willful and wanton misconduct. Health care professionals (defined as physicians, physician assistants, advanced practice nurses) who make a clinical diagnosis of chlamydia (CT) or gonorrhea (GC )may prescribe, dispense, furnish, or otherwise provide antibiotics to the infected person’s partner(s) without physical examination of the partner(s).  See EPT Law on the right under Laws & Rules.

EPT is ideal for the partner(s) who is unlikely or unable to present for comprehensive medical care. The health care professional should provide patient counseling as well as written materials (see below) to be given to the partner by the patient.

Why use EPT? It works!

  • It is considered the standard of care and is endorsed by Center for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) and other Professional Organizations (listed below)
  • It is proven to reduce re-infection rates and possible health complications due to untreated STDs
  • It is an effective tool to combat the rising STD rates
  • It is a useful option to facilitate partner treatment
  • It is an effective option for partners who are unlikely to seek treatment, however clinical evaluation is still preferred
  • It allows the patient to deliver either prescription or medications along with an informational fact sheet to their partner(s)

EPT has the support of professional organizations

  • American Medical Association, since 2006
  • American Bar Association, since 2008
  • Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine, since 2008 (Co-signed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, 2009)
  • National Association of City and County Health Officials, since 2009
  • American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Committee Opinion, since 2011
  • National Coalition of STD Directors testimony, since 2013

Eligible Partners

Eligible partners include sex partners (of patients diagnosed with gonorrhea and/or chlamydia) exposed within the previous 60 days and unlikely or unable to seek medical care. A comprehensive clinical evaluation is always the first choice for pregnant women and men who have sex with men (MSM).

Recommended EPT Medications Given to Sex Partners Based Upon Index Patient’s Diagnosed Infection

  • Chlamydia infection
    • Azithromycin (Zithromax) tablets 1g orally (500mg tablets x2)
  • Gonorrhea infection OR Gonorrhea/Chlamydia Co-Infection
    • (DUAL THERAPY) Cefixime (Suprax) 400mg orally once PLUS Azithromycin (Zithromax) tablets 1g orally (500mg tablets x2)

EPT facts for Patients

Illinois Reporting of EPT

Health care providers can report EPT doses given to clients with chlamydia or gonorrhea infections at time of STD reporting either online through I-NEDSS or on the STD Morbidity Report Form. Reported use of EPT increased 151% by health care providers treating residents of Illinois who tested positive with chlamydia/gonorrhea from 2010 to 2016 (508 doses among 60 different counties to 1,275 doses among 90 different counties).

Resources

Laws & Rules

Publications