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Systematic review and meta-analysis
Updated systematic review suggests that cranberry juice is not effective at preventing urinary tract infection
  1. Amy B Howell
  1. Rutgers University, Marucci Center for Blueberry Cranberry Research, Chatsworth, New Jersey, USA
  1. Correspondence to: Dr Amy B Howell
    Rutgers University, Marucci Center for Blueberry Cranberry Research, 125 A Lake Oswego Road, Chatsworth, NJ 08019, USA; ahowell{at}aesop.rutgers.edu

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Commentary on: Jepson RG, Williams G, Craig JC. Cranberries for preventing urinary tract infections. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2012;10:CD001321.

Implications for practice and research

  • Not all cranberry products contain enough active proanthocyanidins (PACs) for clinical efficacy. Consumers should look for products containing 36 mg of PACs.

  • Cranberry is nearly as effective as low-dose antibiotics for urinary tract infection (UTI) prevention in women and children and does not cause antibiotic resistance.

  • If cranberry products are being recommended to patients, conclusions of this one review do not provide sufficient reasons to change current practices.

Context

UTIs are a significant public health challenge with more than 15 million cases in the USA each year, with their treatment accounting for 15% of all community-prescribed antibiotics at a cost of $500 million annually. For decades, cranberry juice and powders have been routinely recommended by healthcare practitioners for the prevention of UTIs. Meta-analyses of the clinical studies on cranberry are occasionally published …

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