Antimicrobial resistance associated with the treatment of bacterial vaginosis

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2004 Oct;191(4):1124-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2004.05.033.


Objective: This study was undertaken to evaluate antimicrobial susceptibility of vaginal anaerobic bacteria before and after treatment of bacterial vaginosis.

Study design: A randomized clinical trial of 119 nonpregnant women with bacterial vaginosis receiving either intravaginal metronidazole for 5 days or clindamycin for 3 days was performed. Women had 1 baseline and 3 follow-up visits at which quantitative vaginal cultures were performed. Anaerobic isolates underwent antimicrobial susceptibility testing.

Results: Complete susceptibility data was available on 95 women (47 metronidazole and 48 clindamycin). Of 1059 anaerobic bacterial isolates, less than 1% demonstrated resistance to metronidazole. In contrast, 17% demonstrated baseline clindamycin resistance, and 53% demonstrated resistance to clindamycin after therapy. Women exposed to clindamycin (but not metronidazole) had high frequencies (80%) of clindamycin-resistant anaerobic bacteria that persisted for 90 days after treatment.

Conclusion: Treatment of bacterial vaginosis with clindamycin is associated with marked evidence of antimicrobial resistance among vaginal anaerobic bacteria. This may increase the vaginal reservoir of macrolide-resistant bacteria.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Clindamycin / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Metronidazole / therapeutic use*
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Middle Aged
  • Vaginosis, Bacterial / drug therapy*
  • Vaginosis, Bacterial / microbiology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Metronidazole
  • Clindamycin