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Effect of urinary acidifiers on formaldehyde concentration and efficacy with methenamine therapy

Nahata MC, Cummins BA, McLeod DC, Schondelmeyer SW and Butler R
Eur J Clin Pharmacol 22(3):281-4

Twenty-seven patients with indwelling urinary catheters and chronic bacteriuria were studied for methenamine efficacy. In a crossover fashion, each patient received methenamine mandelate granules 4 g/day alone, with ascorbic acid 4 g/day, and with ascorbic acid 4 g/day plus cranberry cocktail one 1/day. Proteus vulgaris, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and E. coli were the common pathogens. Urinary acidifiers had no significant effect on mean urine pH, however, high urinary formaldehyde concentrations were associated with the use of ascorbic acid. Bacteriocidal formaldehyde levels were more frequently present in patients with acidic urine pH than those with alkaline pH. Although ascorbic acid increased formaldehyde levels, additional cranberry cocktail had no further effect. Despite higher formaldehyde levels, urine culture results were positive in most cases with or without urine acidification. Methenamine therapy may be of limited value in asymptomatic chronic bacteriuric patients with indwelling catheters.