Urinary tract infections (UTIs)

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Urinary tract infections (UTIs)

AZO, URISTAT, and Cystex are OTC pain relievers that women between the ages of 18 and 39 and 40+ use to handle UTIs. Across these brands, commonly reported complications include things like stomach cramping, nausea, a change in urine color that can leave stains, and product ineffectiveness. Between these three brands, AZO is the most highly recommended by pharmacy experts. A deep dive of these findings has been presented below.

1. AZO UTI Products

  • About this Product: AZO has a range of OTC products intended for UTIs including pain relievers, antibiotics, and tests.
  • Consumer Demographics: AZO's consumers are largely female (66.03%) and are dispersed across various ages, with 57.74% falling in the 18-44 age group and 42.26% falling in the 45+ age group, according to an analysis of the brand's web traffic.
  • Complications of Use: Some consumers who have used AZO's UTI pain reliever have reported the following complications while using this product: upset stomach, vague instructions, doesn't work every time, doesn't provide full pain relief, turns urine orange, poor packaging design (for the part that holds the pills), and some consumers suggest they may have built-up a tolerance to its effectiveness with regular use.
  • Expert Opinion: A survey of thousands of pharmacists found that the most widely recommended UTI pain relief product was AZO with 86% of pharmacists recommending it.

2. URISTAT

  • About this Product: URISTAT is an OTC pain reliever intended to treat pain while urinating. In addition to relieving pain, it also targets other uncomfortable feelings related to UTIs including burning, urgency, and urination frequency. The brand is made by the same company that makes MONISTAT, a highly popular OTC medication for vaginal yeast infections.
  • Consumer Demographics: URISTAT's consumers are mostly female (52.48%), and largely fall on the younger end of the age spectrum with 64.28% between the ages of 18 and 44, and 35.72% in the 45+ age group, according to an analysis of the brand's web traffic.
  • Complications of Use: Some consumers who have used URISTAT have reported the following complications while using this product: ineffectiveness, stains clothing and toilet, does not have enough days worth of product per package, and nausea.
  • Expert Opinion: A survey of thousands of pharmacists found that only 7% recommend URISTAT.

3. Cystex

  • About this Product: Cystex is an OTC pain reliever that also features an antibacterial agent designed to manage the infection. According to Cystex, this medicine will not change urine color, a common complaint of people who use other UTI products on the market.
  • Consumer Demographics: Among Cystex's consumers, 44.36% are women and they are dispersed across age groups, with 56.89% in the 18 to 44 age group, and 43.3% in the 45+ age group, according to an analysis of the brand's web traffic.
  • Complications of Use: Some consumers who have used URISTAT have reported the following complications while using this product: mediocre relief, ineffectiveness, slow-acting, and stomach pain/cramping.
  • Expert Opinion: A survey of thousands of pharmacists found that only 5% recommend URISTAT.

Research Strategy

To conduct this research, our team began by identifying commonly available OTC pain relievers designed to treat UTI-related symptoms. Medications that are commonly available would be those at are sold at chain pharmacies and other popular retail outlets including CVS, Target, Walmart, Amazon, etc. Next, our team used website analytics database, SimilarWeb, to collect demographic data about the brand's consumer base to show that the brand is popular among women across the specified age groups. It should be noted here that our team also attempted to research a fourth brand, Uricalm, as the brand was reported in a survey of pharmacist recommended products, however, due to low traffic volume, there was insufficient data to explore this brand further. Complications of use were determined by analyzing customer reviews of the given brands. In doing so, our team looked at reviews which gave the product three stars or less and further noted that many of the complications identified were similar/repeating across these reviews, therefore our team summarized the complications being reported for each brand. One area of this research which proved to be most challenging was locating expert opinions of these products. In doing so, our team attempted to locate articles and blogs that quote experts (doctors, pharmacists, etc.) regarding whether they recommend these products, however, we could locate no expert quotes that give a personal opinion from such an individual. Instead, the only insights that could be obtained from this method were factual, non-endorsing statements about proper use of the product and proper care of UTIs in general etc. We also attempted to look at online discussion forums where people can ask doctors health-related questions. Although we did locate one instance of a person asking for doctor opinions on which OTC UTI products are better to use, the thread had but closed by moderators before any doctors could respond, noting that doctors on the site were not allowed to endorse products. In addition to this, our team also tried to look for video product reviews/recommendations published by experts on sites like YouTube, however, we once again ran into the same issues as noted above. It appears that many health professionals are not very keen to give personal opinions about different products in an online format in order to avoid appearing to endorse certain products over others or to avoid liability complications etc. Despite this, our team was able to find insights from a large scale survey of pharmacists that asked which UTI products they recommended most, so this data has been included for each brand. An attempt to locate additional surveys that corroborate these findings proved futile, as the original survey was being reported across multiple-surveys.

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