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Cranberry Use Among Pediatric Nephrology Patients

      Introduction.—Recurrent urinary tract infections are common in children, and the use of complementary therapies is common in other children with recurrent illnesses. However, little is known about the use of cranberry products by children with renal disease. We hypothesized that, because cranberry is often used to prevent urinary tract infections (UTI) in adult women, many parents would give it to their children, particularly to children prone to recurrent UTI (rUTI).
      Methods.—Anonymous, cross-sectional, self-administered survey of parents of children seen in the pediatric nephrology clinic at Brenner Children's Hospital between June 1, 2004, and August 13, 2004.
      Results.—Of the 117 parents surveyed, the patients' average age was 10.3 years, and 15% reported rUTI as a problem. Overall, 29% of surveyed parents gave cranberry products therapeutically; as expected, use was higher among those with rUTI (65%) than among those with other renal conditions (23%); odds ratio = 6.1 (2.0, 18.4, P < .001); many parents gave cranberry to treat as well as prevent diverse renal problems. Most felt it was beneficial and only 1 parent reported a side effect (nausea). Only 23% of those who used it had discussed cranberry use with their physician.
      Conclusion.—Cranberry is commonly used therapeutically among patients seen in a pediatric nephrology clinic and is perceived as useful by parents, though uncommonly discussed with physicians. Randomized controlled trials are needed to determine the effectiveness of cranberry juice therapy for rUTI in children.

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