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PLoS One. 2012;7(4):e34540. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0034540. Epub 2012 Apr 3.

Efficacy of oral metronidazole with vaginal clindamycin or vaginal probiotic for bacterial vaginosis: randomised placebo-controlled double-blind trial.

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Melbourne School of Population Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.



To determine if oral metronidazole (MTZ-400 mg bid) with 2% vaginal clindamycin-cream (Clind) or a Lactobacillus acidophilus vaginal-probiotic containing oestriol (Prob) reduces 6-month bacterial vaginosis (BV) recurrence.


Double-blind placebo-controlled parallel-group single-site study with balanced randomization (1:1:1) conducted at Melbourne Sexual Health Centre, Australia. Participants with symptomatic BV [Nugent Score (NS) = 7-10 or ≥3 Amsel's criteria and NS = 4-10], were randomly allocated to MTZ-Clind, MTZ-Prob or MTZ-Placebo and assessed at 1,2,3 and 6 months. MTZ and Clind were administered for 7 days and Prob and Placebo for 12 days. Primary outcome was BV recurrence (NS of 7-10) on self-collected vaginal-swabs over 6-months. Cumulative BV recurrence rates were compared between groups by Chi-squared statistics. Kaplan-Meier, log rank and Cox regression analyses were used to compare time until and risk of BV recurrence between groups.


450 18-50 year old females were randomized and 408 (91%), equally distributed between groups, provided ≥1 NS post-randomization and were included in analyses; 42 (9%) participants with no post-randomization data were excluded. Six-month retention rates were 78% (n = 351). One-month BV recurrence (NS 7-10) rates were 3.6% (5/140), 6.8% (9/133) and 9.6% (13/135) in the MTZ-Clind, MTZ-Prob and MTZ-Placebo groups respectively, p = 0.13. Hazard ratios (HR) for BV recurrence at one-month, adjusted for adherence to vaginal therapy, were 0.43 (95%CI 0.15-1.22) and 0.75 (95% CI 0.32-1.76) in the MTZ-Clind and MTZ-Prob groups compared to MTZ-Plac respectively. Cumulative 6-month BV recurrence was 28.2%; (95%CI 24.0-32.7%) with no difference between groups, p = 0.82; HRs for 6-month BV recurrence for MTZ-Clind and MTZ-Prob compared to MTZ-Plac, adjusted for adherence to vaginal therapy were 1.09(95% CI = 0.70-1.70) and 1.03(95% CI = 0.65-1.63), respectively. No serious adverse events occurred.


Combining the recommended first line therapies of oral metronidazole and vaginal clindamycin, or oral metronidazole with an extended-course of a commercially available vaginal-L.acidophilus probiotic, does not reduce BV recurrence.


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