Risk of Acute Kidney Injury following community prescription of antibiotics: self-controlled case series

Trijntje J. W. Rennie, Nicosha De Souza, Peter T. Donnan, Charis A. Marwick, Peter Davey, Tobias Dreischulte, Samira Bell (Lead / Corresponding author)

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Background: Development of acute kidney injury (AKI) following the use of antibiotics such as sulphonamides, trimethoprim and aminoglycosides is a frequently described phenomenon. More recently, an association between fluoroquinolone use and AKI has been suggested. The aim of this study was to evaluate the risk of AKI as an unintended consequence of commonly prescribed antibiotics in a large community cohort using a method that fully adjusts for underlying patient characteristics, including potential unmeasured confounders.

Methods: A self-controlled case study was conducted and included all individuals aged 18 years and over in the Tayside region of Scotland who had a serum creatinine measured between 1 January 2004 and 31 December 2012. AKI episodes were defined using the Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes definition. Data on oral community-prescribed antibiotics (penicillins, cephalosporins, fluoroquinolones, sulphonamides and trimethoprim, macrolides and nitrofurantoin) were collected for all individuals. Incidence rate ratios (IRRs) for AKI associated with antibiotic exposure versus time periods without antibiotic exposure were calculated.

Results: Combined use of sulphonamides, trimethoprim and nitrofurantoin rose by 47% and incidence of community-acquired AKI rose by 16% between 2008 and 2012. During the study period 12 777 individuals developed 14 900 episodes of AKI in the community, of which 68% was AKI Stage 1, 16% Stage 2 and 16% Stage 3. The IRR of AKI during any antibiotic use was 1.16 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.10—1.23], and this was highest during sulphonamides or trimethoprim use; IRR 3.07 (95% CI 2.81–3.35). Fluoroquinolone and nitrofurantoin use was not associated with a significantly increased rate of AKI; IRR 1.13 (95% CI 0.94–1.35) and 1.16 (95% CI 0.91–1.50), respectively.

Conclusions: Incidence of AKI rose by 16% between 2008 and 2012. In the same period the use of sulphonamides, trimethoprim and nitrofurantoin increased by 47%. A significant increased risk of AKI was seen with the use of sulphonamides and trimethoprim, but not with fluoroquinolones or nitrofurantoin.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1910-1916
Number of pages7
JournalNephrology Dialysis Transplantation
Issue number11
Early online date28 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2018


  • AKI
  • community prescribed antibiotics
  • self-controlled case series


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