Short-course antibiotic therapy for urinary tract infections in children. A methodological review of the literature

Am J Dis Child. 1988 Jan;142(1):57-61. doi: 10.1001/archpedi.1988.02150010067024.


We performed a methodological review of 14 published clinical trials of short-course (less than or equal to 4 days) vs conventional (seven to ten days) antibiotic therapy for urinary tract infection in children. Four reviewers independently assessed each study, without knowledge of authorship, according to 35 criteria, 14 of which were considered critical for this type of study. Reviewer ratings were summed so that any study could receive a potential score of 140 for all criteria and 56 for the critical criteria. Only one study met more than 75% of all the criteria, whereas four studies met 75% of critical criteria. Two studies found short-course antibiotic therapy significantly less effective than conventional therapy. The remaining 12 had insufficient sample size to warrant the conclusion that the two therapies were equivalent. We conclude that there is insufficient evidence to warrant the use of short-course antibiotic therapy for urinary tract infection in children and that a much larger study, with attention to some of the details described, is warranted.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Urinary / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Humans
  • Time Factors
  • Urinary Tract Infections / drug therapy*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Urinary