"It has become clear that parents frequently use cranberry for therapeutic purposes occasionally in lieu of standard therapy," said Kathi Kemper, M.D., a pediatrician at Brenner Children's Hospital and author of The Holistic Pediatrician. "Research to address efficacy and safety issues is needed even more urgently than we originally thought."
More than 115 parents of patients treated at the pediatric nephrology clinic at Brenner Children's Hospital were surveyed about their use of cranberry therapy in the treatment of recurrent urinary tract infections (UTI). Patients ranged in age from 6 months to 18 years, with an average age of 10.3 years.
The survey results showed that 74 percent of parents had heard of using cranberry therapeutically and 29 percent had given these products to their children. Of parents who treated their children with cranberry, about half used the products to prevent or treat UTIs. The other half gave them for a variety of reasons including "flushing the kidneys" or "when things just didn't seem right" with their child's urination. Only 23 percent of parents who used cranberry reported having discussed it with their pediatrician.
Cranberry products have been widely used and are promoted by various national organizations to prevent UTIs in adults.
"We thought it was safe to assume that many parents might give their children cranberry products to prevent recurrent urinary tract infections," said Kemper. "We wanted to find out if we were right and if parents discussed their use of these products with the
Contact: Rae Bush
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center