Three-day vs longer duration of antibiotic treatment for cystitis in women: Systematic review and meta-analysis

Eugene A. Katchman, Gai Milo, Mical Paul, Thierry Christiaens, Anders Baerheim, Leonard Leibovici

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


PURPOSE: We performed a meta-analysis to ascertain the efficacy and safety of the currently practiced 3-day antibiotic therapy for cystitis versus prolonged therapy (5 days or longer) to relieve symptoms and to achieve bacteriological cure. METHODS: The Cochrane Library, the Cochrane Renal Group's Register of trials, EMBASE and MEDLINE were searched to identify all randomized controlled trials comparing 3-day oral antibiotic therapy with prolonged therapy (5 days and longer) for uncomplicated cystitis in adult non-pregnant women. Two reviewers independently applied selection criteria, performed quality assessment, and extracted data. Relative risks (RR) with their 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated; a fixed effect model was used. An intention-to-treat analysis was performed whenever possible. RESULTS: Thirty-two trials and 9605 patients met inclusion criteria. For symptomatic failure rates no difference between 3-day and prolonged antibiotic regimens was found at short term (RR 1.16, 95% CI: 0.96-1.41) and long-term follow-up (RR 1.17, 95% CI: 0.99-1.38). Three-day treatment was less effective than prolonged therapy in preventing bacteriological failure, relative risk 1.37 (95% CI: 1.07-1.74) for short-term follow-up, and 1.47 (95% CI: 1.22-1.77) for long-term follow-up. Adverse effects were more common in the prolonged therapy group (RR 0.83, 95% CI: 0.79-0.91). The results were consistent for subgroup and sensitivity analyses. CONCLUSION: Antibiotic therapy for 3 days is similar to prolonged therapy in achieving symptomatic cure for cystitis, while the prolonged treatment is more effective in obtaining bacteriological cure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1196-1207
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2005


  • Antibiotic treatment
  • Cystitis
  • Duration of treatment


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