Cranberries for Treatment and Prophylaxis of Urinary Tract Infections – Really Helpful?german translation / full article
Especially in the prevention of recurrent urinary tract infections (UTI) cranberry products are frequently recommended as a natural phytotherapeutic option. Are there studies providing evidence for benefits and harms of this treatment?
Studies on the effectiveness of cranberry in treatment and prophylaxis of urinary tract infections show inconsistent results. While the treatment of acute infections is most likely unsuccessful, prophylactic therapy seems promising in a number of RCTs, although this positive trend is compromised by quality deficits of the studies and probable publication bias. On the other hand, studies comparing antibiotic prophylaxis with cranberry did not reveal a clear advantage of antibiotics, and if so at the price of adverse drug events and induction of bacterial resistance while cranberry rarely causes relevant adverse events. Therefore, a therapeutic attempt with cranberry seems well justified, especially if the patient prefers phytotherapeutic, non-antibiotic treatment and tolerates the taste of cranberry.