A new study shows that Chr. Hansen's probiotic bacteria strains GR-1® and RC-14® (Urex) prevent recurrent urinary tract infections in postmenopausal women. Good news for women who wish to – or have to – avoid antibiotics.
A new clinical study which has been published in the scientific journal Archives of Internal Medicine compared the effectiveness of Urex and antibiotics respectively in preventing recurrent urinary tract infections (UTI) in 252 postmenopausal women.
UTI is one of the most common bacterial infections in women as more than half of all women experience a UTI during their lifetime. Recurrence is defined as two or more UTIs in six months, or three or more within the preceding 12 months, and occurs in 27% of otherwise healthy women.
Probiotics nearly as effective as antibiotics
The 12-month study conducted by a Dutch research group documents that Urex is only slightly inferior to antibiotic for prevention of recurrent UTIs. 13.8% less effective than antibiotics, Urex more than halved the number of self-reported UTIs from previous year.
Further, unlike antibiotics, Urex does not increase antibiotic resistance. While there was no increase in antibiotic resistance in the Urex group, resistance in the antibiotic group increased from 20-40% to 90% after 12 months of treatment.
“Taking into account that probiotics are natural microorganisms that do not cause antibiotic resistance, this outcome is very encouraging. It is good news for women who have untreatable UTI due to antibiotics resistance as well as women who simply prefer an alternative to antibiotics,” explains study chief investigator Suzanne E Geerlings, MD, PhD, Academic Medical Center, Netherlands.
Decreasing intake of antibiotics is key
“It is very common that women suffering from UTI get it over and over again. This is why it is so important that they can decrease their intake of antibiotics - in order not to develop resistance.
A number of scientific experts have highlighted the importance of reducing the use of antibiotic in the prevention of recurrent UTIs but so far the evidence of probiotics to prevent UTI has been too weak to be included in medical guidelines. This study further supports the use of Urex in the struggle against recurrent UTIs,” Birgit Michelsen, Director of Scientific Affairs, Health & Nutrition concludes.
The study by Beerepoot et al. called “Lactobacilli versus antibiotics to prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs). A randomized, double-blind, non-inferiority trial in post-menopausal women” is available here
Facts on UTI
A urinary tract infection is a bacterial infection that affects part of the urinary tract. UTIs occur more commonly in women than men, with half of women having at least one infection at some point in their lives. Most commonly, UTI is caused by infection with ascending E. coli. Standard treatment of a single episode UTI is antibiotics, and for recurrent UTI standard treatment is six to 12 months antibiotic prevention, with a high risk of developing antibiotic resistance.
The Urex concept
Urex is a convenient oral probiotic concept clinically documented to restore and maintain a healthy vaginal flora which may reduce the risk of infections. The Urex concept is based on the respected work of two well-known scientists; microbiologist Dr. Gregor Reid and urologist Dr. Andrew Bruce, founders of Canadian biotech company Urex Biotech Inc. which was acquired by Chr. Hansen in 2009. A dozen clinical studies conducted using the oral formulation have been published, and others are currently underway. Urex is sold in many markets across the world.
Learn more about Urex here
Chr. Hansen is a global bioscience company that develops natural ingredient solutions for the food, nutritional, pharmaceutical and agricultural industries. The products include cultures, enzymes, probiotics and natural colors, and all solutions are based on strong research and development competencies coupled with significant technology investments. Revenue in the 2013/14 financial year was EUR 756 million. The company holds a leading market position in all its divisions: Cultures & Enzymes, Health & Nutrition and Natural Colors. It has more than 2,500 dedicated employees in over 30 countries and main production facilities in Denmark, France, USA and Germany. Chr. Hansen was founded in 1874 and is listed on NASDAQ OMX Copenhagen.