Science News
from research organizations

Women should be allowed to get treatment for cystitis without a prescription

Date:
July 14, 2015
Source:
BMJ
Summary:
Women should be able to treat cystitis themselves with antibiotics without a prescription, says a general practitioner. Acute uncomplicated urinary tract infections (AUUTIs) such as cystitis are the most common bacterial infections in women. Cystitis affects around half of women at least once in their lifetime.
Share:
FULL STORY

Women should be able to treat cystitis themselves with antibiotics without a prescription, says a general practitioner in The BMJ this week.

Dr Kyle Knox says this would save three million scarce GP appointments a year.

Acute uncomplicated urinary tract infections (AUUTIs) such as cystitis are the most common bacterial infections in women. Cystitis affects around half of women at least once in their lifetime and is coded as the reason for 1% of the 300 million GP consultations held annually in the UK.

Management of cystitis is straightforward -- a short course of the antibiotic nitrofurantoin and symptoms usually start to improve after a day or two.

"Therefore, in an era of ready access to information, increasing patient autonomy, and overstretched primary care services, it would seem a good idea for women to be able to access safe and effective treatment without the costs and delays associated with consulting a clinician to obtain a prescription," suggests Knox.

However, despite clear guidance, characteristic clinical syndrome, and predictable efficacy and safety, nitrofurantoin remains a prescription-only drug.

The current prescription-only approach does nothing to limit antimicrobial use but creates urgent demand in primary care -- and an additional hurdle for women to access safe and effective treatment, he argues.

He points out that the availability of pregnancy tests, emergency contraception, and antimalarial prophylaxis is commonplace in UK pharmacies -- and some antibiotics are already available from pharmacies without prescription in the UK.

"A change in the regulations that govern access to nitrofurantoin would be worthwhile only if it was taken up by women seeking treatment," he writes.

He acknowledges that the weight women give to a clinician's assessment compared with more convenient access to treatment is unclear, but says "should be explored as part of the commitment to self care in the NHS Plan 2014-15."


Story Source:

Materials provided by BMJ. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kyle Knox. Women should be able to get antibiotics for urinary tract infection without a prescription. BMJ, 2015; h3441 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.h3441

Cite This Page:

BMJ. "Women should be allowed to get treatment for cystitis without a prescription." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 July 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/07/150714200051.htm>.
BMJ. (2015, July 14). Women should be allowed to get treatment for cystitis without a prescription. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 23, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/07/150714200051.htm
BMJ. "Women should be allowed to get treatment for cystitis without a prescription." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/07/150714200051.htm (accessed May 23, 2017).

RELATED STORIES