Nitrofurantoin--clinical relevance in uncomplicated urinary tract infections - Abstract

The nitrofuran derivative nitrofurantoin has been used for more than 60 years for the antibacterial therapy of uncomplicated urinary tract infections (UTI).

Despite its long application, this antibiotic retained good activity against Escherichia coli and some other pathogens of uncomplicated urinary tract infections such as Staphylococcus saprophyticus and Enterococcus species. Nitrofurantoin therapy has been shown to be accompanied by numerous adverse drug effects. Among these, there are also serious side effects such as pulmonary reactions and polyneuropathy, which mainly occur in long-term use. Recent studies, however, have shown a good efficacy and tolerability of short-term nitrofurantoin therapy comparable to previous established standard therapeutic regimens applying cotrimoxazole or quinolones. Because of these data and the alarming resistance rates of uropathogenic Escherichia coli to cotrimoxazole and quinolones that have been increased markedly in several countries, the clinical significance ofnitrofurantoin has been raised again. In many current treatment guidelines, e. g., the international clinical practice guidelines for the treatment of acute uncomplicated cystitis and pyelonephritis in women published by the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the European Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, nitrofurantoin has been recommended as one first-line antibiotic of empiric antibacterial treatment of uncomplicated cystitis in otherwise healthy women. In Germany, however, nitrofurantoin should only be applied if more effective and less risky antibiotics cannot be used. Nitrofurantoin is contraindicated in the last three months of pregnancy and in patients suffering from renal impairment of each degree. Despite compatibility concerns, nitrofurantoin has also been recommended for the re-infection prophylaxis of recurrent uncomplicated urinary tract infections in Germany and several other countries.

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Reference: Med Monatsschr Pharm. 2014 Jul;37(7):242-8.

PubMed Abstract
PMID: 25065160

Article in German. Infections Section

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