Antibiotics often avoidable for UTI treatment, says Johns Hopkins physician

Prescribing antibiotics to older adults with urinary tract infections may often be avoidable, according to a research paper penned by Thomas Finucane, MD, of the Johns Hopkins Geriatrics Center in Baltimore and published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

In the paper, Dr. Finucane argues UTI diagnosis is vague and often overused to explain changes in the bacterial composition of urine among geriatric patients. The physician cites advances in the scientific understanding of the human microbiome as evidence of the overuse of UTI diagnosis.

"Sensitive diagnostic tests now demonstrate that healthy urinary tracts host a ubiquitous, complex microbial community," wrote Dr. Finucane. "From this perspective, most people who are treated for a 'UTI' would probably be better off without treatment. Elderly adults, little studied in this regard, face particular risk. Invasive bacterial diseases such as pyelonephritis and bacteremic bacteriuria are also 'UTIs.'"

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