Objective: To compare the efficacy and safety of ciprofloxacin 500 mg orally twice daily with pivampicillin 700 mg orally twice daily for 10 days in men with acute epididymitis and over 40 years of age.
Patients and methods: The study comprised 172 men who entered a prospective, controlled, randomized, double-blind, trial of pivampicillin and ciprofloxacin. The median (range) age of the 158 patients eligible for the efficacy analysis was 58 (41-85) years; 41% had previously had a urinary tract infection and 27% had previously had epididymitis. Only one patient had a urethral catheter and 38% were sexually active. About half of the patients were admitted to hospital.
Results: No bacteria could be cultured from samples in 53% of the patients; Escherichia coli could be cultured from 35% and the remaining isolates were the expected urinary pathogens. None of the patients had Gonococci and only one in each group had Chlamydia. Mycoplasma hominis was detected in three patients only and M. genitalium was detected in three, while Ureaplasma was detected in 24 (15%). The treatment failed in 48 patients; in 15 of 76 (20%) receiving ciprofloxacin and in 33 of 82 (40%) receiving pivampicillin. This corresponds to a reduction in the risk of failure of 20.5% (95% confidence limits 6.6-40.2%, P=0. 006). The principal cause of failure was an unsatisfactory clinical response requiring changed antibiotic treatment in 27 patients; adverse events were responsible for failure in 14. The in vitro resistance of cultured bacteria was low in both groups, at approximately 4%. Adverse events, mainly gastro-intestinal, occurred in 17 of 83 (21%) patients starting on ciprofloxacin and in 33 of 89 (37%) receiving pivampicillin (P=0.04).
Conclusion: For epididymitis in men over the age of 40 years ciprofloxacin 500 mg orally twice daily is more effective than pivampicillin 700 mg orally twice daily. Furthermore, ciprofloxacin has a lower incidence of adverse events.