A new study published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews assessed the effectiveness of cranberry products in preventing urinary tract infections (UTIs) in susceptible populations.

The study was the fifth update of a review first published in 1998 and updated in 2003, 2004, 2008 and 2012. The authors searched the Cochrane Kidney and Transplant Register up to March 2023 and included all randomized controlled trials (RCTs) or quasi‐RCTs of cranberry products compared with placebo, no specific treatment or other intervention (antibiotics, probiotics) for the prevention of UTIs. For this update of the review, 26 new studies were added, bringing the total number of included studies to 50 (8857 participants). Information was collected on methods, participants, interventions and outcomes (incidence of symptomatic UTIs, positive culture results, side effects and adherence to therapy).

Forty‐five studies compared cranberry products with placebo or no specific treatment; of these, 26 could be meta‐analyzed for the outcome of symptomatic, culture‐verified UTIs. In studies with moderate-certainty evidence (which had a total of 6211 participants), cranberry products were found to reduce the risk of UTIs. When the studies were categorized by treatment indication, the review found that cranberry products probably reduced the risk of symptomatic, culture‐verified UTIs in women with recurrent UTIs, in children and in people with a susceptibility to UTIs due to an intervention. The available data therefore support the use of cranberry products to reduce UTI risk in these groups.

Williams, G., Hahn, D., Stephens, J.H. et al. (2023). Cranberries for preventing urinary tract infections. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2023(4).

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