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Lower Urinary Tract Infections: An Approach for Greek Community Health Practitioners

Research Article
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) cause a significant infectious burden in the community and demand a coordinated approach from all first-line health professionals. Uncomplicated UTIs refer to infections in non-pregnant females without any underlying localized or generalized pathology, diagnosed through history by the presence of specific local symptoms and in the absence of systemic ones like fever. Uncomplicated UTIs are usually caused by Escherichia coli species; thus, empirical antibiotic treatment can be immediately initiated. A percentage of patients can experience a resolution of symptoms without therapy; however, this “wait and observe” approach is supported only by the relevant British guidelines. There are limited quality studies in the literature on adjuvant treatment options; these can include BNO 145, a phytotherapeutic medicine, and XHP, a medical technology product. Despite being licensed by the European Medicines Agency on the basis of traditional use, there is inadequate support in the medical literature for the use of cranberry extracts and Arctostaphylos uva-ursi extracts. The use of antibiotics is associated with higher response rates and urine culture sterilization as well as lower recurrence/relapse rates; on the other hand, side effect rates are also higher. In choosing the proper empirical antibiotic therapy, one has to take into account individual patient characteristics and community resistance patterns as well as the antimicrobial resistance pressure exerted by the wide use of a specific antibiotic. There is a need for a common framework through which all frontline health practitioners should operate when faced with a case of uncomplicated UTI. In Greece, there are three different guidelines for UTI treatment, developed by the Ministry of Health, the National Organization for Medicines, and the Hellenic Society for Infectious Diseases. The authors of the present study aim at synthesizing these guidelines as well as relevant guidelines from international scientific or other national regulatory organizations while taking into account local resistance patterns. The authors propose the first-line use of either fosfomycin, nitrofurantoin, or pivmecillinam. The use of trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole is discouraged due to increased resistance of Greek community E. coli isolates. Fluoroquinolone use should be avoided due to high E. coli community resistance (exceeding 20% for Greece), along with their unfavorable benefit/side effect balance in uncomplicated UTIs, as well as the overall community resistance pressure exerted by their use. A 5-day regimen remains superior to a 3-day one; the latter may be suitable for certain, not yet adequately characterized, patients.
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Corresponding Author
Diamantis Klimentidis*
Psychiatric Clinic Agia Aikaterini, 57010 Thessaloniki, Greece
  • Urinary tract infections
  • nitrofurantoin
  • fosfomycin
  • pivmecillinam; resistance

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