New York: Antibiotics were better than cranberry capsules at preventing urinary tract infections in a new study of women in the Netherlands who suffered from recurring infections.Women taking the drugs had fewer UTIs over the next year than those taking cranberry capsules, but they also built up resistance to the antibiotics - meaning that their bodies might not respond to the drugs if they needed them to treat another infection.When it comes to antibiotics for UTIs, "there`s a really important need here to look for alternatives and to reconsider both what we`ve done in terms of treatment and prophylaxis," said Betsy Foxman, an epidemiologist at the University of Michigan School of Public Health in Ann Arbor who didn`t participate in the new research.
Foxman said that women with recurrent UTIs should have a conversation with their doctor about preventing the infections, taking issues such as antibiotic resistance into consideration.The question, she said, is "whether you feel like you`re so miserable that you really need them or you want to go to alternatives first."Taking vitamin C or making sure to urinate often enough might also help ward off UTIs, she added.And, "certainly taking cranberry juice is not going to hurt you and it may help."Bill Gurley, from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, told Reuters Health that one issue with these studies is that the cranberry doses used may be too low to be effective for UTI prevention. However, the best dose of the active ingredients in cranberries has yet to be figured out, he added in a commentary published with the study.Both TMP-SMX and cranberry capsules start at about 25 cents per day.The authors note that the cranberry capsules used in the study were provided by Springfield Nutraceuticals and that the rest of the study funding came from a national health research organization.The take-home message of the study, Beerepoot told Reuters Health, "is that cranberries are less effective than the antibiotics, but antibiotic resistance is a big problem." Other studies have pointed to a possible benefit of cranberry juice or extract, she said -- without serious side effects."Maybe therefore cranberries can be an alternative for those women who don`t want to take antibiotics" because of resistance worries, she said.Bureau Report
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