A double-blind trial of oxytetracycline (Imperacin-I.C.I.) and tetracycline hydrochloride in a sustained-release formulation (Tetrabid-Organon) was carried out on 259 men suffering from non-specific urethritis. Patients who had NSU in the preceeding 3 months were excluded from the trial. The response to treatment assessed at 10 days was favourable in ninety patients out of 129 (35 per cent.) who received oxytetracycline and in 89 patients out of 130 (34 per cent.) who received Tetrabid-Organon. Eight patients in each group required re-treatment and the remainder failed to attend for follow-up. At 4 weeks after treatment one (1-3 per cent.) of 74 patients treated with Tetrabid-Organon and twenty (37-7 per cent.) of patients treated with oxytetracycline required further treatment. A large proportion of patients who were free of signs and symptoms at the first follow-up failed to return at 4 weeks, so that the true rates of cure at 4 weeks are difficult to assess. In a field such as venereology, the twice-daily administration of medication offers distinct advantages over a four-times-daily regime. This study suggests that Tetrabid-Organon, a tetracycline designed specifically for twice-daily dosage, is more effective than standard oxytetracycline, given twice daily, in the treatment of NSU. It was satisfying to find that the traditional advice concerning abstention from sexual activity and alcohol consumption during the treatment of NSU has a sound basis. The study showed a close correlation between recurrence of NSU and failure to follow such advice. It would be interesting to investigate the means by which alcohol consumption may act to delay recovery.
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