Cranberry and recurrent cystitis: more than marketing?.
Epidemiologic studies indicate that millions of people suffer from recurrent cystitis, a pathology requiring antibiotic prophylaxis and entailing high social costs. Cranberry is a traditional folk remedy for cystitis and, which, in the form of a variety of products and formulations has over several decades undergone extensive evaluation for the management of urinary tract infections (UTI). The aim of this retrospective study is to summarize and review the most relevant and recent preclinical and clinical studies on cranberries for the treatment of UTIs. The scientific literature selected for this review was identified by searches of Medline via PubMed. A variety of recent experimental evidence has shed light on the mechanism underlying the anti-adhesive properties of proanthrocyanidins, their structure-activity relationships, and pharmacokinetics. Analysis of clinical studies and evaluation of the cranberry efficacy/safety ratio in the prevention of UTIs strongly support the use of cranberry in the prophylaxis of recurrent UTIs in young and middle-aged women. However, evidence of its clinical use among other patients remains controversial.