Most Urinary Bacteria Do Not Require Antibiotics

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Prof. Lindsay E NicolleDepartment of Internal Medicine, School of MedicineRady Faculty of Health SciencesUniversity of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada 

Dr. Nicolle


Prof. Lindsay E Nicolle
Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine
Rady Faculty of Health Sciences
University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for these updated guidelines? What are the main recommendations?

Response: The guideline updates the guideline previously published in 2005. There is some new information published in the interim, but the recommendations from the earlier guideline have not changed.

In addition, some populations not included in the 2005 guideline are addressed in the update. These include children, transplant recipients, and patients undergoing elective surgery with prosthesis implantation.

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Drinking More Water May Reduce Frequency of Urinary Tract Infections

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
"Glass of Water" by Iwan Gabovitch is licensed under CC BY 2.0Professor Yair Lotan MD

Chief of Urologic Oncology
Holder of the Helen J. and Robert S. Strauss Professorship in Urology
UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas
Department of Urology
Dallas, Texas 75390-9110 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Urinary tract infections are extremely common in women and many women experience recurrent episodes which impact their quality of life.  There are also many women who do not drink as much water as is recommended.

This study found that in healthy women with recurrent UTIs who drink less than 1.5 liters per day, the additional intake of 1.5 liters of water daily reduced the risk of recurrent infections by nearly 50%.  Continue reading

Ibuprofen Can Not Replace Antibiotics in Uncomplicated UTI

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ingvild Vik MD Doctoral Research Fellow Department of General Practice Institute of Health and Society - UiO University of Oslo, Norway.

Dr. Vik

Ingvild Vik MD
Doctoral Research Fellow
Department of General Practice
Institute of Health and Society – UiO
University of Oslo, Norway

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Uncomplicated urinary tract infection (UTI) is the most common bacterial infection in women. It is painful and troublesome, and even though it is often self-limiting most women who see a doctor will be prescribed an antibiotic, as antibiotics provide quick symptom relief.  Antibiotic resistance is a growing, serious public health problem. Antibiotic use is the main contributor to antibiotic resistance, and to stop the rapid development it is crucial that we reduce unnecessary use of antibiotics. Antibiotics can cause unpleasant and potentially severe side effects, so avoiding unnecessary use is also beneficial for the individual patient.

A small German trial published in 2010 by Bleidorn et al. suggested that ibuprofen was non-inferior to the antibiotic ciprofloxacin in achieving symptomatic cure in uncomplicated UTI. This inspired us to conduct a larger trial to compare the anti-inflammatory drug ibuprofen to antibiotics in the treatment of uncomplicated UTI.  Continue reading

Electronic Health Record Alerts Reduced Urinary Tract Infections

Craig A Umscheid, MD, MSCE, FACP Assistant Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology Director, Center for Evidence-based Practice Medical Director, Clinical Decision Support Chair, Department of Medicine Quality Committee Senior Associate Director, ECRI-Penn AHRQ Evidence-based Practice Center University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Craig A Umscheid, MD, MSCE, FACP
Assistant Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology
Director, Center for Evidence-based Practice
Medical Director, Clinical Decision Support
Chair, Department of Medicine Quality Committee

Senior Associate Director, ECRI-Penn AHRQ Evidence-based Practice Center
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Umscheid: We found that targeted automated alerts in electronic health records significantly reduce urinary tract infections in hospital patients with urinary catheters. In addition, when the design of the alert was simplified, the rate of improvement dramatically increased.

Approximately 75 percent of urinary tract infections acquired in the hospital are associated with a urinary catheter, which is a tube inserted into the bladder through the urethra to drain urine.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 15 to 25 percent of hospitalized patients receive urinary catheters during their hospital stay. As many as 70 percent of urinary tract infections in these patients may be preventable using infection control measures such as removing no longer needed catheters resulting in up to 380,000 fewer infections and 9,000 fewer deaths each year.

Our study has two crucial, applicable findings.  First, electronic alerts do result in fewer catheter-associated urinary tract infections. Second, the design of the alerts is very important. By making the alert quicker and easier to use, we saw a dramatic increase in the number of catheters removed in patients who no longer needed them. Fewer catheters means fewer infections, fewer days in the hospital, and even, fewer deaths. Not to mention the dollars saved by the health system in general.

In the first phase of the study, two percent of urinary catheters were removed after an initial “off-the-shelf” electronic alert was triggered (the stock alert was part of the standard software package for the electronic health record). Hoping to improve on this result in a second phase of the study, we developed and used a simplified alert based on national guidelines for removing urinary catheters that we previously published with the CDC. Following introduction of the simplified alert, the proportion of catheter removals increased more than seven-fold to 15 percent.

The study also found that catheter associated urinary tract infections decreased from an initial rate of .84 per 1,000 patient days to .70 per 1,000 patient-days following implementation of the first alert and .50 per 1,000 patient days following implementation of the simplified alert. Among other improvements, the simplified alert required two mouse clicks to submit a remove-urinary-catheter order compared to seven mouse clicks required by the original alert.

The study was conducted among 222,475 inpatient admissions in the three hospitals of the University of Pennsylvania Health System between March 2009 and May 2012. In patients’ electronic health records, physicians were prompted to specify the reason (among ten options) for inserting a urinary catheter. On the basis of the reason selected, they were subsequently alerted to reassess the need for the catheter if it had not been removed within the recommended time period based on the reason chosen.
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Skin Irritants Increase Risk of Urinary Tract Infections

Steve J. Hodges MD Associate Professor, Department of Urology Wake Forest University School of Medicine Medical Center Blvd, Winston-Salem, NCMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Steve J. Hodges MD
Associate Professor, Department of Urology
Wake Forest University School of Medicine
Medical Center Blvd, Winston-Salem, NC

Medical Research: What are the main findings of this study?

Dr. Hodges: The main findings of this study were that skin irritants (typically urine) may cause vulvitis in prepubertal girls, which leads to an alteration of their perineal microbiome, with increased colonization by uropathogenic bacteria, increasing the risk of UTI.
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Antibiotic appears more effective than cranberry capsules for preventing urinary tract infections

In premenopausal women who have repeated urinary tract infections (UTIs), the antibiotic trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX) appeared more effective than cranberry capsules for preventing recurrent infections, at the risk of contributing to antibiotic resistance, according to a report in the July 25 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Urinary tract infections are common in women, affecting nearly half at some point in their lives, according to background information in the article. The authors note that up to 30 percent of women develop recurrent UTIs (rUTIs), a condition for which a low-dose antibiotic is frequently used as a preventive measure. “However, this may lead to drug resistance not only of the causative microorganisms but also of the indigenous flora,” write the authors. Studies of cranberries and cranberry products have shown some effectiveness in preventing rUTIs, but these trials have not compared those interventions directly with TMP-SMX, the standard antibiotic used in these cases.

Mariëlle A.J. Beerepoot, M.D., from the Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, and colleagues conducted a double-blind noninferiority trial of cranberry capsules and TMP-SMX. The 221 participants were premenopausal adult women who had reported at least three symptomatic UTIs in the previous year. They were randomized to take either TMP-SMX (480 mg at night, plus one placebo capsule twice daily) or cranberry capsules (500 mg twice daily, plus one placebo tablet at night) for 12 months. Researchers assessed participants’ clinical status once a month (and for three months after stopping the study medication) via urine and feces samples and a questionnaire; participants also submitted urine samples when they experienced UTI-like symptoms.

At 12 months, the average number of clinical recurrences was 1.8 in the TMP-SMX group and 4.0 in the cranberry capsules group. Recurrence occurred, on average, after eight months in the drug group and after four months in the cranberry capsules group. Antibiotic resistance rates tripled in the pathogens found in patients in the TMP-SMX group, although three months after the drug was discontinued, resistance rates returned to the levels they had been at when the study began.

The antibiotic used in this study appeared to be more effective at preventing rUTIs than cranberry capsules, but the researchers noted that achieving this result also seemed to increase the rate of antibiotic resistance. “From clinical practice and during the recruitment phase of this study, we learned that many women are afraid of contracting drug-resistant bacteria using long-term antibiotic prophylaxis and preferred either no or nonantibiotic prophylaxis,” they report. “In those women, cranberry prophylaxis may be a useful alternative despite its lower effectiveness.”

(Arch Intern Med. 2011;171[14]:1270-1278. Available pre-embargo to the media at www.jamamedia.org.)

Editor’s Note: This study was supported by a grant from the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development. The authors received the cranberry and placebo capsules from Springfield Nutraceuticals BV, Oud Beijerland, the Netherlands. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

Commentary: Cranberries as Antibiotics?

An accompanying commentary by Bill J. Gurley, Ph.D., from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, evaluates the results obtained by Beerepoot and colleagues in the context of nonpharmacologic remedies. Botanical dietary supplements are not intended to be used to treat, cure or prevent disease, he writes, but “most U.S. consumers, however, have expectations of health benefits from the dietary supplements they consume.” Nevertheless, supplements such as cranberry capsules may not demonstrate optimal efficacy due to issues with poor water solubility and the type of metabolism that occurs.

Dr. Gurley notes that the report by Beerepoot and colleagues has two important features. Given that one month into the study, antibiotic resistance for Escherichia coli was higher than 85 percent in the TMP-SMX group but less than 30 percent in the cranberry capsule group, “such a marked reduction in antibiotic resistance certainly favors the therapeutic potential of cranberry as a natural UTI preventative.” Further, Gurley points out that TMP-SMX showed superior efficacy to cranberry capsules, but that the low rate of bioavailability of bacteria-fighting chemicals in the dosage used of the latter may have affected the study’s results. “Because optimal doses have not been established for many botanicals, clinical efficacy trials have often yielded negative or inconclusive results,” Gurley points out. He mentions an ongoing dose-ranging study for cranberry that may provide more information on this supplement’s effectiveness.