IDSA: Cranberry Capsules Don't Appear to Help Prevent UTIs

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IDSA: Cranberry Capsules Don't Appear to Help Prevent UTIs
IDSA: Cranberry Capsules Don't Appear to Help Prevent UTIs

FRIDAY, Oct. 28, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- There is no significant difference in the presence of bacteriuria plus pyuria over one year among older women living in nursing homes receiving cranberry capsules versus a placebo pill, according to a study published online Oct. 27 in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The research was published to coincide with the annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDWeek), held from Oct. 26 to 30 in New Orleans.

Manisha Juthani-Mehta, M.D., an associate professor of medicine at the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn., and colleagues randomly assigned 185 female nursing home residents (average age was 86) to two oral cranberry capsules a day or placebo. Each capsule contained the equivalent of 20 ounces of cranberry juice.

Among all the women, 31.4 percent had bacteriuria plus pyuria at the start of the study. Eighty percent of the patients took the capsules as directed and 147 completed the one-year study. The researchers found no significant difference in the percent of women who had bacteriuria plus pyuria among those taking cranberry capsules or placebo (29.1 and 29.0 percent, respectively; odds ratio, 1.01; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.61 to 1.66; P = 0.98). There was also no significant difference in the number of urinary tract infections over the course of a year -- 10 episodes in the treatment group compared to 12 in the control group.

"Cranberry products have long been thought to prevent urinary tract infections, and many different cranberry products, including capsules, tablets and powders, are promoted for this purpose, but this study did not show that this product worked," Juthani-Mehta told HealthDay.

Cranberry and placebo capsules used in the study were manufactured and donated by Pharmatoka.

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