New research by the scientists of Linköping University, Sweden, has found that a forgotten antibiotic, called temocillin, led to a lower selection of resistant bacteria than the standard treatment for febrile urinary tract infection (UTI), according to Medical Xpress.

The study findings, punished in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, suggest that temocillin may be useful in treating severe UTIs that give rise to fever and contribute to a reduced spread of resistant bacteria in hospitals.

Escherichia coli (E. coli) comprises a large fraction of the normal bacterial intestinal flora. But if this bacterium gets into the wrong places in the body, such as the urinary tract or blood, it could lead to serious illness.

UTIs can often be treated with oral antibiotics. However, some patients get so ill that they are hospitalized and treated with intravenous antibiotics.

Principal investigator of the study Prof. Håkan Hanberger said, “It has long been standard procedure to use the antibiotic cefotaxime for such intravenous treatment. But as time has passed, an increasing fraction of bacteria have become less susceptible to this antibiotic, both in Sweden and the rest of the world, and this has made it necessary to seek an alternative.”

Temocillin, which is sold under the brand name Negaban by Eumedica Pharmaceuticals, belongs to the group of antibiotics called penicillin. The drug is used in some other European countries, but not in Sweden.

This particular antibiotic acts against E. coli and other intestinal bacteria that can cause UTIs.

Charlotta Edlund, Specialist Investigator at the Public Health Agency of Sweden, said, “We saw clearly that the intestinal flora was less affected in the group treated with temocillin. The main reason for this is that temocillin gives less selection of resistant intestinal bacteria.”

The researchers found that the clinical effects of temocillin were as good as the standard treatment with cefotaxime. Plus, the side effects were equivalent.

The drug has been found less aggressive against intestinal bacterial flora, suggesting that using this forgotten antibiotic for UTIs could benefit patients. Prof. Hanberger said, “The consequence will be that we see less selection of resistant intestinal bacteria in hospitals, which may contribute to reducing hospital-related infections from these bacteria.”