Overview on Cranberry and Urinary Tract Infections in Females

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Abstract

Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) has been used for decades to prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs) that are among the most common bacterial infections in women. As to the traditional use of cranberry and its A-type proanthocyanidins' ability to inhibit adherence of the bacterial P fimbriae in a dose-dependent manner, clinical trials have been conducted on different subpopulations. A Cochrane meta-analysis in 244 females with symptomatic UTI suggests that the effect was more pronounced in women with recurrent UTIs than elderly males and females or people requiring catheterization. A first head-to-head trial in older females has been published comparing effectiveness of a low-dose antibiotic versus cranberry in which investigators suggest that cranberry products may have a role in older females with recurrent UTI. Still with regard to antibiotic treatment in women, a recently published study investigated also the potential cranberry juice interaction with β-lactam antibiotics supporting the hypothesis that cranberry juice in usual quantities as prophylaxis for UTI is not likely to alter the pharmacokinetics of these oral antibiotics. In addition, the effects of cranberry in pregnant female patients have been investigated. A first pilot trial has been published in which, while a possible protective effect was shown, more than one third of the females withdrew mainly for gastrointestinal upset.

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