The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point

Cranberry-containing products to prevent urinary tract infections

Cranberry-containing products are a folk remedy to prevent UTIs.

Researchers in Taipei and Boston evaluated their value and factors influencing their effectiveness.

First, the details.

  • Data from 13 studies, including 1616 patients, were used in a meta-analysis.
  • The studies compared prevention of UTIs with cranberry-containing products vs placebo or nonplacebo controls.
  • There were no restrictions for language, population, or publication year.

And, the results.

  • Cranberry-containing products were more effective than placebo in the following groups.
    • Women with recurrent UTIs
    • Women
    • Children
    • Cranberry juice drinkers
    • People using cranberry-containing products more than twice daily

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “Cranberry-containing products are associated with protective effect against UTIs.”

The authors caution that the design of the studies were dissimilar (heterogeneous) and that might affect the findings.

A 2008 Cochrane review reported a favorable effect of cranberry juice in the prevention of symptomatic UTIs in women with recurrent UTIs.

Since then, additional study results make it possible to include other groups.

7/10/12 19:43 JR

1 Comment »

  1. JR said:

    on October 17, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    The latest Cochrane Library review disagrees.

    It reported no benefit from taking cranberry in any form. Furthermore, studies where participants were given juice, Cochrane tells us, reported many drop-outs, suggesting it might not be acceptable to drink over long periods. A common problem with studies of cranberry tablets or capsules is that the researchers rarely report the amount of active ingredient, so it’s unclear whether urine levels would have been high enough to have any effect.

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