Objective: To compare the effectiveness of various treatment strategies for trichomoniasis in women.
Data sources: Medline from 1966 to 1996, Embase from 1986 to 1996, Science Citation Index from 1990 to 1996; reference lists of existing reviews; through the manufacturers of metronidazole and tinidazole in the UK, the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register until October 1997 and informal discovery.
Study selection: Any randomized or quasi-randomized trial in nonpregnant women with trichomoniasis where different treatment strategies were compared. 45 of the 124 identified studies met the criteria and were included in the review.
Data extraction: Settings, diagnostic methods, exclusions, loss to follow-up and partner treatment strategies were extracted. Outcomes sought were parasitological cure, clinical cure and side-effects of treatment.
Results: Most trials were small, with only two trials containing more than 100 women in each comparison group. Only 11 trials followed up women for more than one month. Oral nitroimidazoles were effective in achieving parasitological cure. Fourteen trials compared different treatment strategies with the remainder comparing different doses or different drugs. Partner treatment was effective in decreasing longer-term re-infection rates in the one trial testing this.
Conclusions: Parasitological cure can be achieved by a single oral dose of nitroimidazoles. There is, however, very little data on partner treatment strategies and long-term cure rates after initial treatment. Further research should test various partner treatment strategies to prevent re-infections and reduce trichomoniasis prevalence.