Antibiotic-resistant infections in primary care are symptomatic for longer and increase workload: outcomes for patients with E. coli UTIs. Journal Articles uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: Antimicrobial resistance is considered to be one of the major threats to public health. However, the practical implications for patients and workload in primary care are largely unknown. AIM: To determine outcomes for patients managed in primary care with an antibiotic resistant compared to an antibiotic sensitive Escherichia coli (E. coli) urinary tract infection (UTI). DESIGN: Nested case control study with prospective measurement of outcomes. SETTING: Ten general practices in South Wales. METHOD: Patients consulting with symptoms suggestive of UTI identified through systematic sampling, and with a laboratory proven E. coli infection, were followed up by interview 1 month after their consultations and by searching of their medical records. RESULTS: Nine hundred and thirty-two patients were interviewed and had their medical records reviewed. The risk of patients reporting 'feeling poorly', 'frequency or pain on urinating' and being 'out of action' for more than 5 days after consulting was significantly increased for patients with resistant compared to sensitive infections. After adjusting for risk factors, there was an increased risk of 'frequency or pain on urinating' and 'being out of action' for those infected with a resistant E. coli. The median number of maximum reported days with at least one symptom was 12 days for patients with E. coli infections resistant to trimethoprim, 7 days for infections resistant to ampicillin, 7 days for infections resistant to any antibiotic, and 5 days for infections sensitive to all tested antibiotics. Even if treated with an appropriate antibiotic, infections caused by a resistant strain were symptomatic for longer. For those infected with an organism resistant to at least one antibiotic, the odds ratio (OR) for re-visiting their GP within the next 30 days for the UTI was 1.47 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.10 to 1.95). The OR was 1.49 (95% CI = 1.11 to 2.00) for ampicillin resistance and 2.48 (95% CI = 1.70 to 3.59) for trimethoprim resistance. CONCLUSIONS: Resistant E. coli UTIs are symptomatic for longer and cause increased work load in general practice.


  • Butler, Christopher
  • Hillier, Sharon
  • Roberts, Zoë
  • Dunstan, Frank
  • Howard, Anthony
  • Palmer, Stephen

publication date

  • September 2006

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