Acute Uncomplicated UTIs in Adults: Rapid Evidence Review

Link to article at PubMed

Am Fam Physician. 2024 Feb;109(2):167-174.


An acute uncomplicated urinary tract infection (UTI) is a bacterial infection of the lower urinary tract with no sign of systemic illness or pyelonephritis in a noncatheterized, nonpregnant adult with no urologic abnormalities or immunocompromise. In women, a self-diagnosis of a UTI with the presence of typical symptoms (e.g., frequency, urgency, dysuria/burning sensation, nocturia, suprapubic pain), without vaginal discharge, is accurate enough to diagnose an uncomplicated UTI without further testing. Urine culture and susceptibility testing should be reserved for women with recurrent infection, treatment failure, history of resistant isolates, or atypical presentation to make a definitive diagnosis and guide antibiotic selection. First-line antibiotics include nitrofurantoin for five days, fosfomycin in a single dose, trimethoprim for three days, or trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole for three days. Symptomatic treatment with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and delayed antibiotics may be considered because the risk of complications is low. Increased fluids, intake of cranberry products, and methenamine hippurate can prevent recurrent infections. Antibiotic prophylaxis is also effective in preventing recurrence but has a risk of adverse effects and antimicrobial resistance. Men with lower UTI symptoms should always receive antibiotics, with urine culture and susceptibility results guiding the antibiotic choice. Clinicians should also consider the possibility of urethritis and prostatitis in men with UTI symptoms. First-line antibiotics for men with uncomplicated UTI include trimethoprim, trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole, and nitrofurantoin for seven days. Uncomplicated UTIs in nonfrail women and men 65 years and older with no relevant comorbidities also necessitate a urine culture with susceptibility testing to adjust the antibiotic choice after initial empiric treatment; first-line antibiotics and treatment durations do not differ from those recommended for younger adults.


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