Introduction: The aim of this systematic review is to compare chemotherapeutic agents commonly used in treating recurrent urinary infection in nonpregnant women by their efficacy, tolerability, adverse effects, and cost employing network meta-analysis.
Materials and methods: We used three online databases, i.e., PubMed, ScienceDirect, and Cochrane Central Registry of Clinical Trials. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on the use of prophylactic chemotherapeutic agents used in treating nonpregnant women with recurrent urinary tract infections (RUTIs) published between 2002 and 2016 were selected. Only published papers in English were assessed for study quality, and meta-analyses were performed using fixed-effects model with NetMetaXL.
Results: Six RCTs fulfilled the criteria. When all three variables, i.e., efficacy, adverse effects and cost were considered, nitrofurantoin 50 mg once daily for 6 months appears to rank high for prophylaxis against RUTI. When efficacy was the only factor, fosfomycin had the highest superiority compared to D-mannose, nitrofurantoin, estriol, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, and cranberry juice, respectively. However, fosfomycin was also ranked highest by adverse events. When cost alone is considered, nitrofurantoin appeared the most cost-effective agent while placed third for efficacy alone.
Conclusion: Selecting appropriate chemotherapeutic agents for RUTI will need to factor in effectiveness, adverse effects, and cost. While it is difficult to select an ideal drug, evaluation using network analysis may guide choice of medication for best practice.