Sunday, June 23, 2013

Washington University Researchers Reveal That Antibiotics May Reduce UTIs

My opinion:  Another reason that antibiotics may be harmful, as the writer mentions at the end of the article, is that they destroy the good bacteria that we need to live.  Perhaps by giving probiotics at the end of treatment, the researchers may ensure even better results.  Overall, though, I'm not sure a 6% improvement rate is that high to be considered effective - I think we need a drug that really targets the infection and not everything, which would probably increase the number of antibiotic resistant bacteria.  But perhaps even more importantly, the article doesn't mention that many caregivers mistakenly diagnose their patients with a urinary tract infection.  Apparently, if he or she is confused, and the urine is thicker than usual, it is easy to reach the conclusion that the patient has a UTI.  But this is not always so.  In fact, these symptoms may be caused by something as simple as dehydration.  Furthermore, patients often have bacteria in their urine, anyway, so only extended urine tests will catch a true UTI.  Without knowing who has a UTI, then giving antibiotics to everyone who merely seems to have a UTI will likely increase bacterial resistance.  Thus, outlying factors, such as diagnosis, must be considered before any research study can find an excellent solution.  Does anyone know of a better way that may eliminate the infection?  And what other factors must be considered before treatment?  Feel free to comment.      

Antibiotics prevent some hospital UTIs

By Caroline Arbanas

Hultgren, Heuser and Roth
Urinary tract infections are among the most common infections acquired in hospitals. Most are linked to catheters that drain urine from the bladder, providing a direct route for bacteria to enter.
But a new analysis, by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, suggests that some urinary tract infections could be prevented if patients were to receive antibiotics when they have urinary catheters removed.
The results are now available online in the British Medical Journal.
The report, a meta-analysis, pooled data from various clinical trials involving more than 1,000 patients. Overall, the researchers found that giving antibiotics to catheterized patients reduced the risk of a urinary tract infection by nearly 6 percent, when compared with giving a placebo. But the researchers caution that more research is needed to evaluate whether the costs of prescribing antibiotics and other potential downsides outweigh the benefits of antibiotics in catheterized patients.
“Avoiding urinary tract infections in the hospital is desirable, but we need to look at the big picture,” said first author Jonas Marschall, MD, an infectious diseases specialist at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. “There’s a legitimate concern that widespread antibiotic use will encourage antibiotic resistance and cause side effects that include allergic reactions, drug toxicities or the onset of C. difficile, an infection causing severe diarrhea.”


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