Objective Ureaplasma urealyticum biovar 2 (UU-2), but not Ureaplasma parvum (UP), has been associated with non-gonococcal urethritis (NGU), but little is known about species-specific responses to standard therapies. We examined species-specific treatment outcomes and followed men with treatment failure for 9 weeks.
Methods From May 2007 to July 2011, men aged ≥16 attending a sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinic in Seattle, Washington, with NGU (urethral discharge or urethral symptoms plus ≥5 polymorphonuclear leucocytes /high-powered field) enrolled in a double-blind, randomised trial. Participants received active azithromycin (1 g) + placebo doxycycline or active doxycycline (100 mg twice a day ×7 days) + placebo azithromycin. Ureaplasma were detected in culture followed by species-specific PCR. Outcomes were assessed at 3, 6 and 9 weeks. At 3 weeks, men with persistent Ureaplasma detection received ‘reverse therapy’ (eg, active doxycycline if they first received active azithromycin). At 6 weeks, persistently positive men received moxifloxacin (400 mg×7 days).
Results Of 490 men, 107 (22%) and 60 (12%) were infected with UU-2 and UP, respectively, and returned at 3 weeks. Persistent detection was similar for UU-2-infected men initially treated with azithromycin or doxycycline (25% vs 31%; p=0.53), but differed somewhat for men with UP (45% vs 24%; p=0.11). At 6 weeks, 57% of UU-2-infected and 63% of UP-infected men who received both drugs had persistent detection. Failure after moxifloxacin occurred in 30% and 36%, respectively. Persistent detection of UU-2 or UP was not associated with signs/symptoms of NGU.
Conclusions Persistent detection after treatment with doxycycline, azithromycin and moxifloxacin was common for UU and UP, but not associated with persistent urethritis.
Trial registration number NCT00358462.
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