A research group from Australia investigated both in vitro and in vivo if Listerine was effective in reducing gonorrhoea count in the pharynx and found that in both experiments, Listerine was more effective in reducing gonorrhoea positivity than the control saline solution.


Gonorrhoea infection is on the rise, especially among men who have sex with men (MSM). As HIV infection can be prevented and treated more efficiently, there has been a decline in condom use and an increase in the number of sex partners among MSM. In 1879, Listerine was advertised as a mouthwash that could cure gonorrhoea before the antibiotic era. As there is a need for a gonorrhoea control measure that does not rely solely on condom use, researchers investigated the possibility of using Listerine as a mode of prevention.

A research group recently published two studies in the Sexually Transmitted Infections journal on the use of Listerine in gonorrhoea cases. In the first study, the effectiveness of Listerine was tested on N. gonorrhoeae cultures after a 1-minute exposure. Results have shown the significant inhibitory effect of two Listerine products (Cool Mint and Total Care) on the cultures. The second study was a randomised controlled trial and included 58 MSM who were older than 16 years of age, tested positive pharyngeal gonorrhoea and were asymptomatic. 33 men were allocated to the Listerine group and 25 to the control group. After rinsing and gargling for 1 minute, men from the Listerine group had significantly lower gonorrhoea culture positivity than the control group in the pharynx. Furthermore, 43 men had positive culture from the tonsils, and the control group had a higher gonorrhoea culture positivity in this area than the Listerine group. However, the difference in gonorrhoea positivity in the oropharynx was not statistically significant between the Listerine and the control group.

It seems that a 1-minute rinse with Listerine was effective in reducing gonorrhoea in the pharynx, therefore Listerine may be a useful tool in the prevention of gonorrhoea infection.




Written By: Dr. Fanni R. Eros

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