GCU in £2million antibiotic study

21 March 2014

GCU in £2million antibiotic study

Researchers at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) are contributing to a medical trial which is testing the efficacy of a common treatment for urinary infections among patients with bladder muscle weakness or nerve disease.

This 42-month study is sponsored by Newcastle University with a total funding of almost £2m from the National Institute of Health. GCU is one of seven hubs, the others being Newcastle, Bristol, Cambridge, Southampton, Wakefield, Aberdeen.

The AnTIC study will recruit 380 people to help to establish whether taking a once daily dose of antibiotic prevents repeated urinary infections in people who use intermittent catheterisation to empty their bladder.

Intermittent catheterisation – the use of a small tube which is inserted and then removed from the bladder – is commonly used by people who struggle to urinate normally. 

About a third of the people that use this method can suffer repeated urinary tract infections that require treatment. This can be as many as 10,000 patients in the UK ever year.

A urinary tract infection often has unpleasant symptoms and can make some people ill. The cure is to take a full course of antibiotics when there is an active infection. This can cause unpleasant side effects and the repeated use of courses of antibiotics can lead to the development of bacteria that are resistant. 

The study – which has the full title ‘Antibiotic Treatment for Intermittent Bladder Catheterisation: A Randomised Controlled Trial of Once Daily Prophylaxis’ - will assess how successful taking a single low dose of antibiotic daily for a prolonged period – known as prophylaxis – is in suppressing the tendency some people have for developing an infection.

Half of the group (190 people) will be asked to take a prophylactic daily antibiotic for a year and the other half will not. Participants in both groups will be treated with a course of antibiotics should an infection occur. The primary outcome is the difference in the number of infections that occur within each group.

The GCU part of the study is being carried out by the Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions Research Unit (NMAHP) – which is funded by the Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government and hosted jointly by Glasgow Caledonian University and the University of Stirling.

In addition to being a recruitment hub, Glasgow Caledonian is also leading on the qualitative component of the study, interviewing patients to gain an insight to the participant’s experiences and views on taking antibiotics.

Doreen McClurg, Reader and lead GCU researcher on the project, said: “Thousands of patients in the UK every year experience distress due to uncomfortable urinary infections. There is currently a lot of uncertainty around whether a daily dose of antibiotic taken for a year will leave patients better off than taking antibiotics only when an infection occurs. This study will contribute to making that picture far clearer for patients and healthcare professionals alike.”  

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