Researchers examine efficacy of antiseptic drug in place of antibiotics to prevent recurrent UTI

A clinical trial published in The BMJ today discovers that the antiseptic methenamine hippurate is as effective as antibiotics to prevent recurrent urinary tract infections in women.

The use of the antiseptic as an alternative to antibiotics may also help solve the burden of antibiotic resistance, say researchers behind the trial.

According to published data, more than half women have at least one UTI in their lifetime, and recurrence occurring in about a quarter of women who had one episode.

As per current guidelines, daily low dose antibiotics is recommended to be the standard measure to prevent recurrent occurrence of UTI. However, the long term use of antibiotics is related with antibiotic resistance, and therefore research for non-antibiotic alternatives is urgently required.

Clinically, methenamine hippurate is used to disinfect urine, and works to stop the growth of certain bacteria. Earlier studies demonstrate that it could be effective to prevent UTIs, but the evidence is inconclusive and further randomized trials are needed.

A team of researchers in the U.K., which included scientists and clinicians from Newcastle-upon-Tyne took up to study if methenamine hippurate is an effective substitute in place of standard antibiotic treatment to prevent recurring UTI in women.

The findings of the study is based on a sample of 240 women with recurrent UTI that require prophylactic treatment. On average, before the clinical trial, these women experienced more than six episodes of UTI each year.

For the study, recruitment of women was undertaken at UK secondary care centers from June 2016 to June 2018. In random sampling, 102 women were put on daily antibiotics and 103 were put on daily methenamine for 12 months who were assessed three times in a month for up to 18 months.