Young woman in hospital with an antibiotic resistant UTI

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) in the spotlight

Gemma King ANTRUK announcements, Research

Young woman in hospital with an antibiotic resistant UTI

There has been a surge in people looking to Antibiotic Research UK’s information about urinary tract infections (UTIs). These painful and dangerous infections, also known as cystitis, are on the rise in the UK. Find out more about the latest UTI research from around the world.

UTIs are a common and unpleasant infection that make it painful to pee. But they can also develop into more serious infections of the bladder or kidneys. They can even cause sepsis and death, particularly in older people, who might struggle to articulate their symptoms in time to receive effective treatment.

There are many different bacteria that can be responsible for this type of infection, including those that are resistant to antibiotics. Recently, we have seen over 100 people visiting the Antibiotic Research UK information pages about urinary tract infections and antibiotics every day. Around half of the calls to our Patient Support service are from people worried about this type of infection. Read on for a round-up of the latest research news about UTIs.

Potential new nutraceutical combination therapy for UTIs tested

Researchers in India have published positive results from their study into a new combination treatment for Pseudomonas aeruginosaP. aeruginosa is a bacteria that is responsible for many types of infection. The bacterial samples for this study came from patients with catheter-associated UTIs. Combining existing antibiotic treatment with quercetin (a plant pigment that is present in many plants and foods) appears to significantly decrease the infection rate. It does this by reducing the killing effect of the bacteria. The combination also reduced biofilm formation; a biofilm is a protective layer that the bacteria produces to protect itself.

By creating a combination therapy made up of existing antibiotics and other treatments, we can extend the use of our antibiotics. This is an important approach, particularly as developing new antibiotics can take many years and multiple millions of pounds. Find out more about our research in this area.

Evidence supports treating infections for fewer days

Australian researchers have reviewed recent randomised controlled trials to evaluate the duration of antibiotic treatment required for various infections. Their review shows that short courses of antibiotics are no less effective than longer courses of treatment. This research provides strong evidence in favour of reducing the volume of antibiotics prescribed by using shorter courses of treatment. This is good news as UTIs are very common. GPs often prescribe a longer course of treatment due to the unpleasantness of the symptoms.

Existing antibiotic are effective against vancomycin-resistant UTIs

This study from the USA demonstrates that Linezolid (an antibiotic) is effective against UTIs caused by a type of bacteria that is resistant to vancomycin (another antibiotic). This is important new research as Linezolid was previously thought to be ineffective against UTIs due to ‘limited urinary excretion’ (a lack of presence in the urine).

More about UTIS

The usual treatment options for UTIs are oral antibiotics, such as Trimethoprim or nitrofurantoin (first line). If this doesn’t work, amoxicillin or cefalexin (second line) are used. Research from the UK in 2016 showed that 30% of UTI samples were caused by bacteria that are resistant to trimethoprim and 3% to nitrofurantoin.

If you want to find out more about the impact of urinary tract infections and antibiotics, you can read Ronda’s story. You can learn about how she faced sepsis after contracting a catheter-associated infection.

How you can help

These common infections are painful and cause suffering to millions of people each year. Please make a donation to support our research and help to protect our antibiotics. Our research aims to find alternative treatments and so we can save modern medicine.

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