It is OK to Take cranberry Pills Every Day (But not Juice)
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The Short Answer
It is OK to take cranberry pills every day long-term to prevent recurrent UTIs. The FDA classifies cranberry pills as a dietary supplement that is generally safe for long-term use.
- Cranberry pills can be taken every day to reduce the risk of recurrent UTIs (a common problem in women).
- Cranberry pills are better than cranberry juice for daily use due to fewer gastrointestinal side effects and less risk of high-calorie intake (less risk of weight gain and increased blood sugar).
- Taking cranberry pills every day may not be suitable if you are taking certain medications such as warfarin or aspirin. Ask your doctor if you are on any chronic medications before starting cranberry supplementation.
- Cranberry pills can be taken at any time of the day. Taking them on a full stomach and with a full glass of water is preferred.
 Is it Ok to take cranberry pills every day?
You should take cranberry-containing pills such as AZO cranberry pills every day for long periods (months or years). Research shows that cranberry may protect you from further recurrence of UTIs.
Cranberry is considered a dietary supplement by the FDA. Dietary supplements are generally safe to take daily for long periods without significant side effects.
The usual daily dose of cranberry is two tablets per day.
The usual daily dose of cranberry is two caplets per day (500 mg each). Your doctor will often prescribe a dose of 2 to 4 caplets daily for long periods. Cranberry pills daily are safe and not associated with major side effects. The key to fighting UTIs and preventing them from returning is consistently taking the cranberry supplement every day for months or years. Cranberry pills are better than juice in the long term due to less risk of excess sugar (weight gain and diabetes) and less risk of developing kidney stones.
- Can I take cranberry pills every day? Yes, and you should take them as they MAY reduce the risk of recurrent UTIs.
- For how long? Typically for months or years or as advised by your doctor.
- How much to take every day? For the pills, the usual dose is 2-4 caplets per day, taken with a glass of water.
- Are daily cranberry pills effective in preventing UTIs? There is some evidence that cranberry supplements MAY help prevent UTI recurrence. However, FDA has concluded that there is limited scientific evidence supporting this claim (reference).
 Is It better to take cranberry Pills or juice (efficacy & long-term effects)
Cranberry can be taken in either:
- Tablets or pills (chewable tablets and soft gels are also available).
- Juice Mixes.
- Pure juice.
The problems with cranberry juice used in the long term are its high sugar content and gastrointestinal side effects. For me, pills are a better option if you plan to take cranberry long-term.
A single pill of concentrated cranberry extract provides the same benefit without the side effects such as weight gain, diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, and heartburn.
Although some cranberry juices are unsweetened (sugar-free), they may also cause gastrointestinal side effects such as stomach pain and diarrhea.
Also, cranberry juice may make you pee a lot due to the high water content. But this may be an advantage as it may help you stay hydrated.
The table below summarizes the differences between long-term intake of cranberry juice and cranberry pills.
 Does taking cranberry every day long-term interfere with medications?
Another concern that I often hear from my patients is the safety of cranberry pills while taking other medications, such as:
- Birth control pills.
- Diabetes medications such as metformin.
- Blood-thinning medications, such as warfarin and liquids.
- Heart and blood pressure medications, such as metoprolol.
Generally speaking, cranberry juice and pills are dietary supplements that are generally safe. So, it is safe to take cranberry pills with most medications, such as birth control pills, metformin, antibiotics, and metoprolol.
Possible interactions include:
Cranberry and warfarin.
Cranberry pills may interfere with some blood thinners (such as warfarin). According to research, Taking cranberry pills may increase the effects of warfarin (Coumadin® or Jantoven®), putting you at a higher risk of bleeding. Don’t take cranberry if you are on Warfarin without consulting your doctor.
Cranberry pills and Aspirin.
Cranberry contains salicylic acid (the main component of aspirin). Don’t take cranberry if you are on aspirin or have a known allergy to aspirin.
Cranberries may not be safe for daily use with medications broken down by the liver. Ask your doctor if you have any chronic medications before long-term use of cranberry.
 What is the best time to take cranberry daily (morning or night)?
The manufacturer doesn’t recommend a specific time to take cranberry pills. However, It is better to take them at night after eating with a full glass of water.
Taking cranberry juice or pills on an empty stomach in the morning may increase the risk of gastrointestinal side effects such as stomach pain, nausea, or vomiting.
However, you can take the two-pill standard dose at any time in the day, independent of eating (preferably on a full stomach).
 What is the best cranberry pills brand for UTI?
The most widely recognized best cranberry brand is the AZO cranberry pills. It offers a 3-in-one supplement that contains:
- Cranberry concentrate (500 mg/tablet).
- A urinary Probiotic to promote bladder and urinary tract health.
- Vitamin C: boosts the immune system and fights UTI.
AZO cranberry pills are the ultimate option for any woman who wants to prevent a UTI from returning. In one handy pill, AZO cranberry pills act as a cranberry supplement, probiotic, and immune booster (vitamin C).
AZO cranberry supplements are available in different forms:
- Caplets: swollen as a whole with a glass of water.
- Chewable: chewed before swallowing.
- Written by a doctor.
MD, Internal Medicine and Nephrology specialist.
Dr. Esraa A. MagidAuthor