Researchers at Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute are to publish a study in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases next week reviewing previous research on prophylaxis (preventative treatment) of recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs).

According to LA News (1), the study was undertaken to bring together and review the many smaller studies of various treatment methods in a holistic and global way. The authors conclude that the most effective treatments are:

  • Antibiotics (recurrence rate 0.4)
  • Acupuncture (recurrence rate 0.7)
  • Cranberry pills (recurrence rate 1.1)
  • Oestrogen therapy (recurrence rate 1.1)
    (recurrence rate of 3.0 is equal to no measurable effect)

These results are good news for those who are suffering from recurring UTIs and have been looking for alternatives to antibiotics, which can have various side effects. This is also good news for doctors concerned with overuse of antibiotics and the associated risk of resistant bacteria developing.



1. Kuznia, R. La Daily News. Study: Cranberry pills, acupuncture among effective preventive treatments for urinary tract infections. [Online]. [Accessed 11 January 2014].

2. Eells, S.J., Bharadwa, K., McKinnell, J.A. and Miller, L.G. Recurrent urinary tract infections among women: comparative effectiveness of 5 prevention and management strategies using a markov chain monte carlo model. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 2014;58(2):147-60.

3. Aune A, Alraek T, Huo L, Baerheim A. Acupuncture in the prophylaxis of recurrent lower urinary tract infection in adult women. Scand J Prim Health Care. 1998;16:37–39.

4. Alraek, T., Soedal, L.I.F. and Baerheim, A. Acupuncture treatment in the prevention of uncomplicated recurrent lower urinary tract infections in adult women. American Journal of Public Health. 2002;92(10):1609-1611.