Can the Use of Antibiotics for Uncomplicated UTI be Reduced by Initial Treatment with Ibuprofen?

Uncomplicated urinary tract infections (UTIs) are usually treated with antibiotics as recommended by primary care guidelines. Antibiotic treatment supports clinical cure in individual patients but also leads to emerging resistance rates in the population. Gagyor, et al. (2012) designed a comparative effectiveness study to investigate whether the use of antibiotics for uncomplicated UTI could be reduced by initial treatment with ibuprofen, reserving antibiotic treatment to patients who return due to ongoing or recurrent symptoms.

This is a randomized-controlled, double-blind, double dummy multicenter trial assessing the comparative effectiveness of immediate vs. conditional antibiotic therapy in uncomplicated UTI. Women > 18 and < 65 years, presenting at general practices with at least one of the typical symptoms dysuria or frequency/urgency of micturition, will be screened and enrolled into the trial. During an 18 - months recruitment period, a total of 494 patients will have to be recruited in 45 general practices in Lower Saxony. Participating patients receive either immediate antibiotic therapy with fosfomycin-trometamol 1x3g or initial symptomatic treatment with ibuprofen 3x400mg for three days. The ibuprofen group will be provided with antibiotic therapy only if needed, i.e., for persistent or worsening symptoms. For a combined primary endpoint, the researchers will choose the number of all antibiotic prescriptions regardless of the medical indication day 0-28 and the "disease burden" defined as a weighted sum of the daily total symptom scores from day 0 to day 7.

According to the researchers, the study will be considered positive if superiority of conditional antibiotic treatment with respect to the first primary endpoint and non-inferiority of conditional antibiotic treatment with respect to the second primary endpoint is proven.
Reference: Gagyor I, et al.  Immediate versus conditional treatment of uncomplicated urinary tract infection - a randomized-controlled comparative effectiveness study in general practices. BMC Infectious Diseases 2012, 12:146 doi:10.1186/1471-2334-12-146