UrineBacteriaYou diagnose a 35 years old woman with uncomplicated cystitis. She is not diabetic and not pregnant. Which antibiotics should you give? What if she had pyelonephritis?

Answer: It depends on your local antibiogram.

San Francisco General Hospital 2010 Antibiogram

Today, go find out about your hospital’s local resistance rates for uropathogens to various antibiotics. For San Francisco General Hospital, I found our antibiogram publicly posted online. Urine isolates of E. coli demonstrate relatively high resistance rates to trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole and ciprofloxacin:

  • Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole resistance rate = 33%
  • Cefazolin or Cephalexin resistance rate = 12%
  • Ciprofloxacin resistance rate = 16%

So based on the new 2010 practice guidelines by the ID Society of America and the European Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases,1 I should give:

  • Cystitis: Nitrofurantoin x 5 days, or cephalexin / beta-lactam x 3-7 days
  • Pyelonephritis: Ceftriaxone 1 gm IV x 1 + (ciprofloxacin x 7 days or trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole x 14 days)

PV Card: Antibiotics for Uncomplicated Cystitis and Pyelonephritis in Women

Adapted from [1] Go to ALiEM (PV) Cards for more resources.


  1. Gupta K, Hooton T, Naber K, et al. International clinical practice guidelines for the treatment of acute uncomplicated cystitis and pyelonephritis in women: A 2010 update by the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the European Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. Clin Infect Dis. 2011;52(5):e103-20. [PubMed]
Michelle Lin, MD
ALiEM Founder and CEO
Professor and Digital Innovation Lab Director
Department of Emergency Medicine
University of California, San Francisco
Michelle Lin, MD


Professor of Emerg Med at UCSF-Zuckerberg SF General. ALiEM Founder @aliemteam #PostitPearls at https://t.co/50EapJORCa Bio: https://t.co/7v7cgJqNEn
Michelle Lin, MD