Seen the claims for Azo Bladder Control pills?
This dietary supplement, marketed primarily to women, supposedly “helps control the need to go to the bathroom,” “helps reduce occasional urgency,” and “supports a good night’s sleep,” according to its manufacturer.
Too bad that’s not what the best study of the product shows. That study, conducted by the Belgian company that created the supplement, found that Azo Bladder Control is no more effective than a placebo at relieving the urgency to urinate and reduces only slightly the number of trips to the bathroom during the day or night.
Don’t look for this news on the website of the manufacturer, i-Health, Inc., of Cromwell, Connecticut.
Azo Bladder Control pills contain an extract of pumpkin seeds and soybeans i-Health calls “Go-Less. ” Ads for the product have been featured in the glossy coupon inserts in Sunday newspapers and have run in magazines like the Costco Connection that’s mailed out to the warehouse’s 45 million members.
This isn’t the first time i-Health has made dubious claims about the dietary supplements it sells. In 2014, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charged that the company made deceptive claims about a memory-booster supplement. Without admitting guilt, the company signed an agreement with FTC not to make any more memory claims without adequate scientific proof.
Looks like FTC should look at the company’s claims about i-Health’s so-called bladder control pills.
In the one good study, 83 women in South Korea who had been suffering from urinary urgency and frequent urination for more than three months were randomly assigned to take either Go-Less pills or a lookalike placebo every day.
After 12 weeks, women taking Go-Less felt the urgency to urinate just as frequently and just as intensely as the women taking the placebo.
i-Health says their supplement will help you “go less and worry less.” But in the study, Go-Less-takers averaged eight trips to the bathroom each day, only slightly fewer than the placebo-takers who averaged nine and one-half trips.
“Tired of waking up in the middle of the night?” the company asks. “There’s a better way.” However, Go-Less-takers got up to pee an average of only one less time every three nights than the placebo-takers.
I-Health did not respond to a request for comment on the study and why they don’t tell their customers about it.
Azo Bladder Control costs $18 for the first two weeks, then $25 a month after that.
The study: Bongseok Shima et al.: A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial of a product containing pumpkin seed extract and soy germ extract to improve overactive bladder-related voiding dysfunction and quality of life. Journal of Functional Foods 8:111-117, 2014.
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