Treatment of bacterial vaginosis: A comparison of oral metronidazole, metronidazole vaginal gel, and clindamycin vaginal cream

D. G. Ferris, M. S. Litaker, L. Woodward, D. Mathis, J. Hendrich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

103 Scopus citations


Background. Treatment options for bacterial vaginosis are numerous. The purpose of this study was to compare the efficacy of oral metronidazole, metronidazole vaginal gel, and clindamycin vaginal cream for the treatment of bacterial vaginosis using traditional clinical and laboratory methods, as well as a new DNA probe test. We also determined the percentage of patients receiving each treatment who developed posttreatment vaginal candidiasis, a potential complication of treating bacterial vaginosis. Methods. One hundred one women in whom bacterial vaginosis was diagnosed by standard criteria were randomly assigned to receive: oral metronidazole 500 mg twice daily for 1 week, 0.75% metronidazole vaginal gel 5 g twice daily for 5 days, or 2% clindamycin vaginal cream 5 g once daily for 7 days. Women with coexisting vulvovaginal candidiasis or vaginal trichomoniasis were excluded. Tests of cure by vaginal saline wet prep and potassium hydroxide microscopic examinations. Gram's stain, pH and DNA probe tests for Gardnerella vaginalis and Candida species were scheduled 7 to 14 days following treatment. Results. There were no statistically significant differences in cure rates for oral metronidazole (84.2%), metronidazole vaginal gel (75.0%), or clindamycin vaginal cream (86.2%) (χ2=1.204, df=2, P=-.548) using traditional clinical and laboratory criteria. Cure rates were lower based on DNA testing, indicating that Gardnerella vaginalis may remain after a clinical cure. This would explain cases of recurrent disease. Posttreatment vulvovaginal candidiasis was experienced by 12.5% of subjects treated with oral metronidazole, 14.8% of subjects treated with clindamycin vaginal cream, and 30.4% of subjects treated with metronidazole vaginal gel (χ2=2.607, df=2, P=.272). Conclusions. Oral metronidazole, metronidazole vaginal gel, and clindamycin vaginal cream achieved nearly equivalent cure rates for the treatment of bacterial vaginosis. Patients treated with these agents experienced similar rates of posttreatment vulvovaginal candidiasis, but those using the intravaginal products reported being more satisfied with the treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-449
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Family Practice
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1995



  • Candida
  • Gardnerella vaginalis
  • Vaginosis, bacterial
  • clindamycin
  • metronidazole

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice

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