An asssessment of the clinical findings and treatment in 400 patients with non-specific urethritis (NSU) is reported, and the effect of treating their contacts is analysed. Three tetracyclines were compared ina randomised trial which showed that low-dose oxytetracycline (250 mg twice a day) was as effective as preparations formulated specifically for twice daily administration (triple tetracycline and sustained-release tetracycline hydrochloride). The question of multiple aetiology was explored by testing statistically whether various clinical features such as age, incubation period, severity of symptoms, and previous infection were related to outcome. No subgrouping of the condition could be found. Clinical relapse proved to be independent of empirical treatment of asymptomatic contacts, which therefore appeared not to confer any benefit on either partner. It is suggested that the infective aspect of NSU is readily controlled, and that other factors, probably psychological, determine relapse.
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