Open Access Highly Accessed Study protocol

Immediate versus conditional treatment of uncomplicated urinary tract infection - a randomized-controlled comparative effectiveness study in general practices

Ildikó Gágyor1*, Eva Hummers-Pradier1, Michael M Kochen1, Guido Schmiemann3, Karl Wegscheider4 and Jutta Bleidorn2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of General Practice and Family Medicine, University of Goettingen, Humboldtallee 38, Goettingen, 37073, Germany

2 Institute of General Practice, Hannover Medical School, Carl-Neuberg-Str.1, Hannover, 30625, Germany

3 Institute for Public Health and Nursing Research, Department for Health Services Research, University of Bremen, Grazer Str. 4, Bremen, 28359, Germany

4 Department of Medical Biometry and Epidemiology, University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf, Martinistr. 52, Hamburg, 20246, Germany

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2012, 12:146  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-12-146

Published: 28 June 2012



Uncomplicated urinary tract infections (UTI) are usually treated with antibiotics as recommended by primary care guidelines. Antibiotic treatment supports clinical cure in individual patients but also leads to emerging resistance rates in the population. We designed a comparative effectiveness study to investigate whether the use of antibiotics for uncomplicated UTI could be reduced by initial treatment with ibuprofen, reserving antibiotic treatment to patients who return due to ongoing or recurrent symptoms.


This is a randomized-controlled, double-blind, double dummy multicentre trial assessing the comparative effectiveness of immediate vs. conditional antibiotic therapy in uncomplicated UTI. Women > 18 and < 65 years, presenting at general practices with at least one of the typical symptoms dysuria or frequency/urgency of micturition, will be screened and enrolled into the trial. During an 18- months recruitment period, a total of 494 patients will have to be recruited in 45 general practices in Lower Saxony. Participating patients receive either immediate antibiotic therapy with fosfomycin-trometamol 1x3g or initial symptomatic treatment with ibuprofen 3x400mg for 3 days. The ibuprofen group will be provided with antibiotic therapy only if needed, i.e. for persistent or worsening symptoms. For a combined primary endpoint, we choose the number of all antibiotic prescriptions regardless of the medical indication day 0–28 and the “disease burden”, defined as a weighted sum of the daily total symptom scores from day 0 to day 7. The study is considered positive if superiority of conditional antibiotic treatment with respect to the first primary endpoint and non-inferiority of conditional antibiotic treatment with respect to the second primary endpoint is proven.


This study aims at investigating whether the use of antibiotics for uncomplicated UTI could be reduced by initial treatment with ibuprofen. The comparative effectiveness design was chosen to prove the effectiveness of two therapeutic strategies instead of the pure drug efficacy.

Trial registration

Clinicaltrials.Gov: NCT01488955

Urinary tract infection; Comparative effectiveness design; Antibiotic prescription; General practice