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The University of Southampton
Global Network for Anti-Microbial Resistance and Infection Prevention

Trial of alternative treatments for Urinary Tract Infection

This research study was presented by Catherine Simpson, a Senior Trial Manager within the Southampton Clinical Trials Unit, at the Global-NAMRIP Festival of Early Career Research on 25 June 2019. The poster can be downloaded via the 'Useful Downloads' link below.

Catherine Simpson Poster

Cystitis in adult women is one of the most common conditions treated with antibiotics in primary care and although the symptoms are distressing, they usually settle without complications within a few days. Antibiotics do shorten the duration of symptoms and so this form of treatment is currently used. An alternative treatment of delaying the prescription of antibiotics could reduce antibiotic use but is unlikely to be widely adopted unless an alternative approach for symptom relief is available.

The team wanted to find out if offering women some medicines for symptom relief would reduce the symptoms and help cut antibiotic use. Women who saw their doctor with a suspected urine infection and who were prepared to wait for antibiotics were either recommended to take ibuprofen or offered a herbal product (Arctostaphylos Uva ursi) thought to reduce urinary symptoms. 

Neither treatment seemed to make any difference to symptom severity or recovery. However, the team showed that advising women to take ibuprofen appeared to reduce antibiotic use by around two thirds. No women suffered serious complications so recommending ibuprofen for women prepared to wait for antibiotics appears safe and would help reduce overall antibiotic exposure.

Herbal product extracted from bearberry leaves
Herbal product trialled is extracted from bearberry leaves

The authors of this study are M. Moore1, J. Trill1, C. Simpson2, F. Webley2, M. Radford2, L. Stanton2, T. Maishman2, A. Galanopoulou2, A. Flower1, C.Eyles1, M. Willcox2, A.D.Hay3, E. van der Werf3, S. Gibbons4, G. Lewith1, P.Little1 and G. Griffiths2.

1 Primary Care and Population Science, University of Southampton Faculty of Medicine; 2 Southampton Clinical Trials Unit, University of Southampton
Faculty of Medicine; 3 Centre for Academic Primary Care, Population Health Sciences, University of Bristol; 4 Research Department of Pharmaceutical and Biological Chemistry, UCL School of Pharmacy.

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