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"Do It Yourself": Patients Treating Themselves for UTIs
Mary Beth Nierengarten, MA
Chicago, Tuesday, December 18, 2001 — Escherichia coli bugs women, particularly their urinary tracts. Of all the pathogens that lead to urinary tract infections (UTIs), E coli is the main culprit. Two studies presented in a slide session at the 41st ICAAC focused on UTIs in 2 particular populations: women with recurrent infections, and those with diabetes.
Self-initiated Antibiotic Therapy for Recurrent UTIs
Self-initiated antibiotic therapy is an attractive option for controlling recurrent UTIs in women, and it can be safe and effective. One major drawback, however, is the potential risk for developing antibiotic resistance. Dr. Gupta from the University of Washington, and colleagues conducted a study to evaluate the prevalence of antimicrobial resistance to E coli infections in women given either ofloxacin (OFL) or levofloxacin (LVX) to self-administer as needed. Of 172 women in the study, 144 had confirmed cases of UTI, primarily due to E coli (73% as sole pathogen, 12% as copathogen) during the study period. E coli isolates were resistant to trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP/SMX) (12%), ampicillin (AMP) (31%), ampicillin/clavulanate (AMC) (10%), and cephalothin (CEP) (12%). None of the strains were resistant to cefotaxime, ciprofloxacin, ofloxacin, levofloxacin, or nitrofurantoin. These results are similar to those reported for sporadic uncomplicated cystitis.
The investigators also looked at resistance problems to different antibiotics in a subset of 103 women with 185 confirmed cultures, 85% of which were E coli. The report was encouraging, said Dr. Grupta, because of the finding that 62% of the E coli strains were not resistant to multidrug therapy; only 12% were resistant to 3 or more antimicrobials (ie, multidrug resistant).
Because an increased risk of antibiotic resistance is always a factor in managing UTIs, these data are encouraging for patients who wish to initiate their own therapy.
Women with Diabetes Mellitus
Can a vaccine prevent the high prevalence of bacteriuria in women with diabetes mellitus (DM)? Dr. Meiland, from the University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands, says it's time to clinically evaluate a vaccine that has shown promising results in the lab.
Due to an increased type of a particularly virulent strain of E coli (type 1-fimbriated), which binds to the uroepithelial cells of women with DM, the prevalence of bacteriuria is higher in these women than in women without this metabolic disorder. Developing a vaccine for these women is therefore highly attractive.
To clinically evaluate a vaccine to reduce and prevent E coli infections in diabetic women, Dr. Meiland and colleagues isolated 2 E coli strains — Ctr39 and NU14 — from uroepithelial cells of women with DM. After incubation with anti-FimCH antiserum diluted 1:50, 1:100, or 1:200, the investigators found that adherence of E coli to the uroepithelial cells of diabetic women was inhibited for both the Ctr39 (65%, 56%, and 41% by dilution ratios, respectively) and NU14 (23%, 8%, and 3% by dilution ratios, respectively) strains. These data show that a vaccine-induced anti-FimCH antiserum can inhibit adherence of E coli to uroepithelial cells of women with DM.
[A phase 2 clinical trial of a vaginal mucosal vaccine against 10 pathogenic strains of E coli and other organisms was presented on Monday (see Pushing the Envelope: A UTI Vaccine, Suppressive Herpes Therapy, and Linezolid Resistance).]
Meiland R, Geerlings SE, Brouwer EC, Coenjaerts FEJ, Langermann S, Hoepelman IM. Adherence of Escherichia coli to uroepithelial cells of women with diabetes mellitus (DM) can be inhibited by vaccine-induced anti-FimCH antiserum. Program and abstracts of the 41st Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy; December 16-19, 2001; Chicago, Illinois. Abstract 1349.Gupta T, Hooton TM, Roberts PL, Stamm WE. Antimicrobial resistance in uropathogens from patients utilizing self-initiated therapy for recurrent UTI. Program and abstracts of the 41st Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy; December 16-19, 2001; Chicago, Illinois. Abstract 1352.
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