Bladder Infection Drugs Losing Effectiveness

A report published in today’s Journal of the American Medical Association contends that the bacteria that cause bladder infections are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics, a problem that researchers describe as “worrisome.”

Researchers examined urine samples from over 4,000 women who were being treated for urinary tract infections between 1992 and 1996 and found that over 20% of the bacteria that cause bladder infections — Escerichia coli (E. coli) or Staphylococcus saprophyticus bacteria — were resistant to established antibiotic drugs ampicillin, cephalothin, and sulfamethoxazole.

A newer antibiotic, trimethoprim is also becoming less effective. E. coli’s resistance to trimethoprim doubled from 9% in 1992 to over 18% in 1996. Since medical guidelines state that new treatments should be prescribed when resistance to a drug becomes 20% or more, trimethoprim’s future use will be limited.

On a more positive note, E. coli is only about 2% resistant to three other antibiotics, nitrofurantoin, gentamicin, and ciprofloxacin.


Reuters - February 23, 1999

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