Background: Mycoplasma genitalium (MG) is associated with nongonococcal urethritis in men and cervicitis in women. Current guidelines recommend treatment with 1 gram of azithromycin; however, treatment failure has increasingly been reported. This meta-analysis estimates treatment efficacy following treatment with 1 gram of azithromycin.
Methods: Electronic databases were searched for articles published to the end of February 2015 using the following search terms: (Mycoplasma genitalium) AND (azithromycin OR zithromax OR [treatment efficacy]). Studies were included if they were English language, had participants aged ≥12 years diagnosed with urogenital MG, and had microbial cure measured within 12 months of treatment. Treatment efficacy was measured as microbial cure at last follow-up after treatment.
Results: A total of 21 studies, including 1490 participants, fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Most studies were observational, with only 5 controlled trials identified. The random-effects pooled microbial cure was 77.2% (95% confidence interval [CI], 71.1%-83.4%; I(2) = 80.8%, P < .01). For the 12 studies conducted prior to 2009, pooled microbial cure was 85.3% (CI, 82.3%-88.3%; I(2) = 19.7%, P = .25); for the 9 studies conducted since the beginning of 2009, pooled microbial cure was 67.0% (CI, 57.0%-76.9%; I(2) = 80.9%, P < .01).
Conclusions: The efficacy of a single dose of 1 gram of azithromycin for the treatment of urogenital MG has decreased to approach 60%. Even though most of the available evidence is based on observational studies that have considerable variability in sample size and timing of microbial cure, this low efficacy is of considerable concern. It is vital that new treatment options for MG are investigated.
Keywords: Mycoplasma genitalium; azithromycin; systematic review; treatment efficacy.
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