Urinary tract infections in the elderly: a review of disease characteristics and current treatment options

Drugs Context. 2020 Jul 8;9:2020-4-13. doi: 10.7573/dic.2020-4-13. eCollection 2020.


Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common in the elderly, and cover a range of conditions from asymptomatic bacteriuria to urosepsis. Risk factors for developing symptomatic UTIs include immunosenescence, exposure to nosocomial pathogens, multiple comorbidities, and a history of UTIs. European guidelines on urological infections recommend antimicrobial treatment only for symptomatic UTIs. Non-antimicrobial options to treat and prevent UTIs include among others cranberry products, OM-89 Escherichia coli bacterial lysate vaccine, and estrogen therapy in postmenopausal women, although evidence for their efficacy is weak. Another non-antimicrobial option to control and prevent UTIs is a medical device (Utipro Plus®) containing xyloglucan, gelatin, propolis, and extracts of Hibiscus sabdariffa. The device acts in the intestine as a mechanical barrier to protect against invasion by uropathogenic E. coli strains. A randomized controlled trial of Utipro Plus® in patients with uncomplicated UTIs provided good-quality evidence of its efficacy compared with placebo. In an observational study of Utipro Plus® in patients with recurrent UTIs, more than 80% women reported a return to their pre-UTI clinical status and about 30% transitioned from symptomatic UTIs to asymptomatic bacteriuria. New treatment strategies that offer a safe and effective non-antimicrobial means of managing UTIs could have an important role in the elderly.

Keywords: elderly patients; medical device; non-antimicrobial treatment; urinary tract infections.

Publication types

  • Review