New Combo Drug Offers Hope To People Suffering From Hard-To-Treat UTIs

UTIs are a pain in more ways than one. They can potentially ruin your day thanks to discomfort, constant trips to the bathroom, and ultimately doctor visits to sort them out. Since women are 30 times more likely to develop a UTI, per Women's Health, it's good to have some knowledge about the infection. 

According to Mayo Clinic, UTIs can affect any part of the urinary system, but the most common problem areas are the bladder and urethra. They can also spread to the kidneys, which is when major problems begin to arise. And, because these nasty infections can be dangerous if left untreated, it's important to know the signs.

Pain or burning while urinating, bloody or cloudy urine, and the constant urge to go followed by an inability to pass are all common signs of a UTI. Abdominal pressure, nausea, and fatigue can also be symptoms. Serious infections can even lead to fevers, according to Women's Health. Fortunately, most UTIs are treatable with a simple antibiotic. However, a new medical discovery could help stop even the most stubborn cases in their tracks. 

A new UTI medication is on the horizon

Like many infections, certain UTIs have evolved and become harder to treat over time. Dr. Keith Kaye, chief of infectious disease at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, gave U.S. News the scoop on why some infections are so stubborn. "Bacteria were here millions of years before we were, and they're going to be here millions of years after," Kaye explained. "It's like we saw with COVID — it's evolution. They will evolve to beat us and to beat our antibiotics."

One of these evolutions involves ESBL, also known as extended-spectrum beta-lactamases. These enzymes basically dissolve common antibiotics, rendering them useless. Because of their "resistance mechanisms," ailments that used to be mild could potentially land sufferers in the hospital (via CDC). To combat this, doctors held a clinical trial to test a new medication that wouldn't be susceptible to ESBLs. Their new combination, cefepime/enmetazobactam, went up against the standard UTI treatment medication.

Trial results point towards hope for sufferers

The trial included 1,034 patients, all with potentially severe UTIs. The Journal of the American Medical Association reported that the new combo of cefepime/enmetazobactam outperformed the standard treatment for UTIs. In fact, it cured 79.1%, while the old medication, piperacillin/tazobactam, only helped 58.9%. Now, the drug is being "fast-tracked" by the FDA and will hopefully be readily available within the next 12 months, per U.S. News

In the meantime, Healthline details several steps you can take to prevent UTIs. Be sure to go to the bathroom as soon as you need to go. If you wait too long to pee, it can cause UTIs alongside plenty of other unpleasant things. It's also important to urinate before and after sex. Scented shower products can cause infections, so be mindful of what you're using to wash. 

Cranberries and probiotics are helpful in fighting bladder infections. And, as always, drink plenty of water. If you're unsure about whether you have a bladder infection or a UTI, be sure to talk to your doctor.