Many women choose to use cranberry juice or capsules to treat and prevent Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), but new Dutch research has found that antibiotics may be more effective even if they contribute to a greater risk for antibiotic resistance.

Urinary tract infections are common, more than half of all women will have at least one UTI during their lifetime. Thirty percent of women develop recurrent UTI, a condition for which a low-dose antibiotic is frequently used as a preventive measure.

Mariëlle A.J. Beerepoot, M.D., from the Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, and colleagues conducted a double-blind trial of 221 premenopausal women with a history of frequent bladder infections by either giving a daily low-dose of antibiotic Trimethoprim-Sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX) commercial name Bactrim and Septra and cranberry capsules with 500mg of cranberry extract for a period of 12 months.

After measuring the frequency of UTI symptoms, they found that women taking the low-dose antibiotic had an average of 2 recurrences compared to 4 recurrence for women taking cranberry capsules. 

Although antibiotics are more effective  at decreasing recurrent UTI's than cranberry capsules. Taking the antibiotics also increased the risk of antibiotic resistant of bacteria causing the infections.

Published in the July issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.