Physician speciality and adherence to guidelines for the treatment of unsubstantiated uncomplicated urinary tract infection among women

Natan R. Kahan, Nurit L. Friedman, Yossi Lomnicky, Beatriz Hemo, Anthony D. Heymann, Mervyn Shapiro, Ehud Kokia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Purpose: To evaluate the variance in rates of physician adherence to guidelines for the empiric treatment of uncomplicated urinary tract infection (UTI) in women recommending either trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX) or nitrofurantoin, in all relevant physician subspecialities practising in a managed care community setting in Israel. Methods: Data were derived from the computerised medical records of Maccabi Healthcare Services, a health maintenance organisation (HMO) in Israel providing care to more than 1.6 million members nation-wide. The study population included women aged 18-75 years without risk factors for complicated UTI who were treated empirically with antibiotics for a diagnosis of acute cystitis or UTI. The data set consisted of 64 236 initial physician-patient encounters from July 2000 to June 2002. Physician adherence to guidelines was calculated by comparing the proportion of cases treated with each individual drug. A binary regression model was used to evaluate factors associated with suboptimal adherence to the guidelines. Results: Nitrofurantoin was the most frequently prescribed drug (18.51%), followed by TMP-SMX (17.04%) for a crude rate of adherence of 35.6%. Adherence was observed to be highest in cases treated by urologists (OR = 2.8, 95%CI: 2.4, 3.3), followed by gynaecologists (OR = 1.9, 95%CI: 1.7, 2.31), with family practice as the referent speciality. The medical school attended was also found to be significant. Conclusions: Physician speciality was found to be significantly associated with rate of adherence to guidelines, with higher rates being observed amongst specialities such as urologists who presumably have greater familiarity with the subject matter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-361
Number of pages5
JournalPharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 May 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Antibiotics
  • Data warehouse
  • Drug utilisation
  • Empiric treatment
  • Prescription behaviour
  • Subspeciality variance
  • UTI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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