Erythromycin for persistent of recurrent nongonococcal urethritis. A randomized, placebo-controlled trial

T. M. Hooton, E. S. Wong, R. C. Barnes, P. L. Roberts, W. E. Stamm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of a 3-week regimen of erythromycin for treatment of persistent or recurrent nongonococcal urethritis in men. Design: A prospective, randomized, double-blind trial with follow-up at 2, 4, and 8 weeks after enrollment. Patients: Seventy-seven evaluable men with objective evidence of nongonococcal urethritis (36 in the erythromycin group and 41 in the placebo group) with a mean age of 28 years, a median duration of urethritis of 3 months, and a median number of three previous antimicrobial regimens. Intervention: Erythromycin, 500 mg, or placebo four times daily for 3 weeks. Results: After 2 weeks of treatment, urethral symptoms resolved in 13 of 25 erythromycin-treated patients compared with 8 of 34 placebo-treated patients (P = 0.03). Erythromycin also resulted in more frequent resolution of urethral discharge and leukocytosis at all visits compared with placebo but these differences were not statistically significant. First-voided urine leukocyte counts decreased, however, by a median of 89% (95% CI, -96% to -67%) in the erythromycin group compared with 23% (CI, -73% to 83%) in the placebo group after treatment (P = 0.02 for the difference in changes). Further, in men with prostatic inflammation, urinary leukocyte counts decreased by a median of 94% (CI, -99% to -83%) after treatment in erythromycin-treated patients compared with a 46% increase (CI, -57% to 290%) in placebo-treated patients (P = 0.0003 for the difference in changes). Conclusion: A 3-week regimen of erythromycin was more effective than placebo in improving symptoms and in reducing pyuria in men with persistent or recurrent nongonococcal urethritis, especially among men with prostatic inflammation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-26
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of internal medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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