Entries in UTI (1)


Cranberries or Antibiotics for Prevention of Infections?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(LITTLE ROCK, Ark.) -- Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are quite common with almost half of all women experiencing at least one in their lifetime.  Although it’s not completely clear how they work, it is not uncommon for cranberries and cranberry products to be used for UTI prevention by women who develop recurrent infections -- a condition for which they are usually prescribed preventative low-dose antibiotics.  

Although cranberries have had some observed effectiveness in UTI prevention, how do the little red berries stack up against the low-dose antibiotic?  According a new study published in Archives of Internal Medicine, not very well.
Researchers at the College Pharmacy at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences gave either a daily low-dose antibiotic or cranberry capsules to 221 women for a period of 12 months.  They then measured the frequency of UTI symptoms.  They found that women taking the low-dose antibiotic had an average of 1.8 UTI recurrences compared to four recurrences for women taking cranberry capsules.  

So it seems that antibiotics are more effective at preventing recurrent UTIs than cranberry capsules.  But taking the antibiotics also increased the rate of antibiotic resistance of the bacteria causing the infections. The authors stated that because “many women are afraid of contracting drug-resistant bacteria using long-term antibiotic prophylaxis [preventative treatment]...cranberry prophylaxis may be a useful alternative despite its lower effectiveness.”

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