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Acute uncomplicated cystitis, first-line agents, prescriber adherence, treatment guidelines



  1. Amayun, Ira RN, BSN, MPH (FNP-DNP Student)


Background: In 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published guidelines for treating acute uncomplicated cystitis (AUC) with nitrofurantoin (NTF), sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim (SMX-TMP), or fosfomycin (FM) as appropriate first-line agents.


Objective: To evaluate whether provider adherence to prescribing NTF, SMX-TMP, or FM has improved since the 2017 CDC guidelines were released, and to examine outcomes relative to the use of prescribing guidelines.


Data source: A literature review was conducted in compliance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis, and a systematic search for articles was conducted in the PubMed and Cochrane search engines using Boolean operators (AND, OR). The searches resulted in 56 published studies. After application of exclusion criteria, 11 peer-reviewed articles were ultimately included in this review.


Conclusion: The review showed prescribers' increasing efforts to adhering to antibiotic prescription guidelines for treating AUC, such as the 2017 CDC guidelines. The studies presented strong evidence that NTF, SMX-TMP, and FM are equally efficacious and cost-effective for treating AUC without concern for antibiotic resistance. Studies that referenced prescription guidelines and local antibiotic resistance yielded desired patient outcomes in bacterial and symptom resolution and cost-effectiveness.


Implications for practice: This article provides evidence and a platform for nurse practitioners to initiate collaborative efforts for structured AUC treatment guidelines in primary health care. To increase prescription adherence, electronic health records could be designed that would prompt prescribers to use updated local antibiotic resistance information and to use NTF, SMT-TMX, and FM as first-line agents.