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Women with recurrent UTIs frustrated with treatment options

Results from focus groups published in the Journal of Urology show that women with recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) are frustrated with treatment options and worry about adverse effects of antibiotics.

Investigators examined the perspectives of 29 women suffering from recurrent urinary tract infections. They utilized patient focus group discussions, emphasizing attitudes toward the current prevention and treatment of urinary tract infection episodes.

Participants were asked questions related to:

  • urinary tract infection knowledge
  • prevention strategies
  • treatment
  • impact on quality of life

Median age of participants was 46 years, with ages ranging from 20 to 81. The preliminary themes identified during discussions fell into 2 categories:

1) negative impacts of taking antibiotics for prevention and treatment of recurrent urinary tract infections, and

2) resentment of the medical profession regarding their management of recurrent urinary tract infections.

From these themes, the concepts of “fear” and “frustration” became most evident.

The risk of a woman developing a UTI over her lifetime is over 50%, with 25% experiencing recurrent infections. UTIs lead to more than 8 million ambulatory visits in the United States per year, with associated annual costs estimated at $2 billion.

“Prescribers tend to treat UTI episodes with broad-spectrum antibiotics and antibiotic courses of excessive duration,” the investigators reported. “Additionally, the overdiagnosis of UTIs in patients with genitourinary symptoms is a common issue in ambulatory settings, particularly in patients with a history of rUTIs. This further increases the burden of unnecessary antibiotic exposure.”

“Women in focus groups reported apprehension about antibiotics being prescribed in the absence of infection and about the unnecessary use of broad-spectrum antibiotics. While women reported excruciating symptoms and desired rapid symptom relief during UTI episodes, many felt that they had received multiple courses of unnecessary antibiotics for UTIs, or for symptoms that may have represented another genitourinary condition. Some postmenopausal women revealed insight into having chronic colonization and asymptomatic bacteriuria that do not need to be treated unless they become symptomatic.”

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