An Update on the Role of Nitrofurans in the Management of Urinary Tract Infections
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There have been few recent reviews of the nitrofurans in the literature, and none include recently available data on the use of nitrofurazone (nitrofural) in the prevention of catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI). Nitrofurazone and nitrofurantoin are the only nitrofurans that have become established in clinical use in the 20th century. These 2 nitrofurans have remained clinically useful against a wide spectrum of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, including many strains of common urinary tract pathogens. Today, the primary use of nitrofurantoin is as an oral antibacterial treatment for genitourinary infections. Nitrofurazone is primarily used as a topical antibacterial agent in burns and skin grafts and recently was approved for the prophylaxis of CAUTI. The recent development of a nitrofurazone-impregnated catheter as a novel modality in the prevention of CAUTI reflects a renewed interest in the effectiveness of nitrofurans. In an era when concern about bacterial resistance to many anti-infective agents is growing, the nitrofurans have continued to be active against organisms that have developed resistance to antibacterials. The presence of multiple mechanisms of action for the nitrofurans might be expected to reduce the ability of bacteria to develop resistance. Considering that an emergence of resistance to the nitrofurans has not appreciably occurred after several decades of clinical use, the nitrofurans may be unique among common antibacterial agents in this regard.