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  • 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2020
  • Project No: 413
  • Funding round: FR 16

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are the commonest bacterial infections affecting women, and are usually treated with antibiotics. Because of frequent and sometimes inappropriate use of antibiotics, many bacteria have adapted so that they are no longer killed by antibiotics (antibiotic resistance). As a result, there has been increasing interest in using non-antibiotic treatments, such as cranberry extract. The sugars in cranberries are believed to prevent bacteria from sticking to the wall of the bladder, thus reducing the ability of bacteria to cause and sustain a UTI. Cranberries might also make it easier for antibiotics to surround and kill bacteria.We will conduct a study to assess whether cranberries can treat UTIs in women and safely reduce antibiotic use. Women with a UTI will be invited to take part. We will not include women with complicated UTIs (e.g. feverish, back pain, vomiting).

Women will be randomly assigned to one of three groups:

1) Usual treatment with antibiotics.

2) Treatment with antibiotics AND cranberry capsules.

3) Initial treatment with cranberry capsules, but also with an antibiotic prescription that they can take to the chemist at a later date if they don’t get better with cranberry alone (‘back-up antibiotics’).

Participants will complete a diary daily for up to two weeks about their symptoms (e.g. pain on passing urine), how bad the symptoms are, how long they last, and whether or not they take antibiotics.The main aim of this small-scale study is to test whether the study design described works and is acceptable to participants (called a feasibility study). This will help in the planning of a subsequent, similar, but much larger study. By comparing the information from different treatment groups on a larger scale, we will be able to tell whether cranberries actually treat UTIs and help reduce the need for antibiotics.