Management of epididymo-orchitis in primary care: Results from a large UK primary care database

Amanda Nicholson*, Greta Rait, Tarita Murray-Thomas, Gwenda Hughes, Catherine H. Mercer, Jackie Cassell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


Background Epididymo-orchltls is a common urological presentation in men but recent incidence data are lacking. Guidelines for management recommend detailed investigation and treatment for sexually transmitted pathogens, such as Chlamydia trachomatis. Data from secondary care indicate that these guidelines are poorly followed. It is not known how epididymo-orchitis is managed in UK general practice. Aim To estimate the incidence of cases of epididymoorchitis seen in UK general practice, and to describe their management. Design of study Cohort study. Setting UK general practices contributing to the General Practice Research Database (GPRD). Method Men, aged 15-60 years, consulting with a first episode of epididymo-orchitis between 30 June 2003 and 30 June 2008 were identified. All records within 28 days either side of the diagnosis date were analysed to describe the management of these cases (including location) and to compare this management with guidelines. Results A total of 12 615 patients with a first episode of epididymo-orchitis were identified. The incidence was highest in 2004-2005 (25/10 000) and declined in the later years of the study. Fifty-seven per cent (6943) of patients were managed entirely within general practice. Of these, over 92% received an antibiotic, with ciprofloxacin being the most common one prescribed. Only 18% received a prescription for doxycycline. Most men, including those under 35 years, had no investigation recorded and fewer than 3% had a test for chlamydia. Conclusion These results indicate low rates of specific testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections in males who attend general practice with symptoms of epididymo-orchitis. There is a need for further research to understand the pattern of care delivered in general practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e407-e422
JournalBritish Journal of General Practice
Issue number579
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010


  • Chlamydia
  • Electronic health records
  • Epididymitis
  • Incidence
  • Primary health care


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