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Short compared with standard duration of antibiotic treatment for urinary tract infection: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials
  1. M Michael1,
  2. E M Hodson1,
  3. J C Craig1,
  4. S Martin1,
  5. V A Moyer2
  1. 1Centre for Kidney Research, The Children's Hospital at Westmead, Sydney, Australia
  2. 2Center for Clinical Research and Evidence Based Medicine, The University of Texas–Houston Health Science Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr E Hodson, Centre for Kidney Research, The Children's Hospital at Westmead, Locked Bag 4001, Westmead, NSW 2145, Australia;


Aims: To compare the effectiveness of short course (2–4 days) with standard duration oral antibiotic treatment (7–14 days) for urinary tract infection (UTI).

Methods: Meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials using a random effects model. Ten trials were eligible, involving 652 children with lower tract UTI recruited from outpatient or emergency departments. Main outcome measures were UTI at the end of treatment, UTI during follow up (recurrent UTI), and urinary pathogens resistant to the treating antibiotic.

Results: There was no significant difference in the frequency of positive urine cultures between the short (2–4 days) and standard duration therapy (7–14 days) for UTI in children at 0–7 days after treatment (eight studies: RR 1.06; 95% CI 0.64 to 1.76) and at 10 days to 15 months after treatment (10 studies: RR 1.01; 95% CI 0.77 to 1.33). There was no significant difference between short and standard duration therapy in the development of resistant organisms in UTI at the end of treatment (one study: RR 0.57, 95% CI 0.32 to 1.01) or in recurrent UTI (three studies: RR 0.39, 95% CI 0.12 to 1.29).

Conclusion: A 2–4 day course of oral antibiotics is as effective as 7–14 days in eradicating lower tract UTI in children.

  • urinary tract infection
  • meta-analysis
  • systematic review
  • treatment duration
  • CI, confidence interval
  • RCT, randomised controlled trial
  • RR, relative risk
  • UTI, urinary tract infection

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