Use of Cranberry Products for UTI Prevention in Pediatric Patients

A common infection in the pediatric population is a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). A UTI can occur due to obstruction of urine flow or urinary stasis. The pathogen that causes most UTIs is called Escherichia coli in adults. In children, however, the most common cause of UTIs is Pseudomonas. Low-dose antibiotics were given for prophylaxis in the past to children who showed obstructive disease or recurrent UTIs. Now, it is realized that this leads to antibiotic resistance and other interventions need to be explored.

Healthcare professionals initially believed that cranberry would be an effective prevention of UTIs because it would cause the urinary tract system to be more acidic, but it is not known for sure that the urine pH changes. Now, cranberry is thought to stop the attachment of bacteria to the uroepithelial cells and also that it inhibits the formation of biofilm bacteria. Cranberry use has been studied in the prevention of recurrent UTIs in women, so now researchers are studying the possible benefits in children.

Eight clinical trials were reviewed and their results showed that cranberry is a safe and effective option that could prevent recurrent UTIs in pediatric  patients. This is especially true for otherwise healthy patients. A dose of 2-5 mL/kg/day proved to have the most benefit in the pediatric population. Should clinicians promote the use of cranberry supplements  for the prophylaxis of UTIs  to parents with children or should they only address that if the child develops a UTI first?

Durham SH, Stamm PL, Eiland LS. Cranberry Products for the Prophylaxis of Urinary Tract Infections in Pediatric Patients. Ann Pharmacother. 2015: 49(12); 1349-1356. http://aop.sagepub.com/content/49/12/1349.full.pdf