June 28, 2012

One Week of Ciprofloxacin Effective for Kidney Infections


In a study of women with kidney infections, one week of treatment with the antibiotic ciprofloxacin was as effective as two weeks of treatment. These results were published in The Lancet.

A kidney infection—also referred to as pyelonephritis—is a urinary tract infection that has reached one or both kidneys. It is less common than infections of the bladder and urethra, but can also be much more serious. A severe or untreated kidney infection can cause kidney damage and other serious problems. Factors that increase the likelihood of a kidney infection include pregnancy, diabetes, and kidney stones or other causes of urinary obstruction.

Kidney infections are usually treated with antibiotics, but the optimal duration of treatment remains uncertain. Treating patients for a shorter period of time could reduce the occurrence of antibiotic resistance, but is only an option if it effectively treats the infection.

One week of ciprofloxacin has previously been shown to be effective for the treatment of kidney infections,[1] but the one-week duration has never been directly compared with a longer, two-week duration. To make this comparison, researchers in Sweden conducted a study among 248 women with acute, community-acquired kidney infections.[2] Most of the women had uncomplicated infections.

Study participants were randomly assigned to either one week or two weeks of treatment with oral ciprofloxacin 500 mg twice daily. Women were excluded if they were found to have infections that were resistant to ciprofloxacin.

  • Cure rates were high and similar in the two study groups. This suggests that the shorter duration of treatment was as effective as the longer duration of treatment.
  • Compared with a previous study of one week of ciprofloxacin, this study included a higher proportion of older women and women with more severe infections. The shorter duration of treatment was also effective in these women.

In summary, for the treatment of uncomplicated kidney infections that are not resistant to ciprofloxacin, one week of ciprofloxacin appears to be as effective as two weeks of ciprofloxacin.

It’s important to note that these results do not apply to other types of antibiotics that may be used for the treatment of kidney infections. Some other types of antibiotics may need to be used for a longer period of time.


[1] Talan DA, Stamm WE, Hooton TM, et al. Comparison of ciprofloxacin (7 days) and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (14 days) for acute uncomplicated pyelonephritis in women. A randomized trial. JAMA 2000; 283:1583-1590.

[2] Sandberg T, Skoog G, Bornefalk Hermansson A et al. Ciprofloxacin for 7 days versus 14 days in women with acute pyelonephritis: a randomised, open-label and double-blind, placebo-controlled, non-inferiority trial. The Lancet. Early online publication June 21, 2012.

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Tags: News, Uncategorized, Urology