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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2006 Jul;50(7):2293-9.

Absence of cochleotoxicity measured by standard and high-frequency pure tone audiometry in a trial of once- versus three-times-daily tobramycin in cystic fibrosis patients.

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MRC Centre for the Study of Mechanisms of Human Toxicity, Neurotoxicology, University of Leicester, Leicester LE1 9HN, United Kingdom.


We undertook assessment of hearing in patients with cystic fibrosis who were taking part in a large randomized controlled trial of once- versus three-times-daily tobramycin for pulmonary exacerbations of cystic fibrosis (the TOPIC study). All patients were eligible to have standard pure tone audiometry performed across the frequency range of 0.25 to 8 kHz. High-frequency pure tone audiometry over 10 to 16 kHz was also performed with a subset of patients. Audiometry was undertaken at the start of tobramycin treatment, at the end of a 14-day course of treatment, and at follow-up 6 to 8 weeks later. We enrolled 244 patients, of whom 219 (125 children and 94 adults) completed treatment. Nineteen patients were excluded from analysis due to abnormal baseline audiometry. Complete pre- and posttreatment standard audiological data were obtained for 168/219 patients. We found no significant differences in hearing thresholds when they were assessed at the baseline, at the end of treatment, and at follow-up 6 to 8 weeks later were compared. In addition, no significant differences in hearing thresholds were detected between treatment regimens. Similar results were obtained for the subset of 63/168 patients who underwent high-frequency audiometry. We conclude that for a single 14-day course of tobramycin treatment in patients with cystic fibrosis with no preexisiting auditory deficit, no measurable effect on hearing was apparent with either once- or three-times-daily treatment. Estimation of the cumulative cochleotoxic risk in cystic fibrosis patients due to repeated aminoglycoside therapy, as evidenced by the patients excluded from this study due to hearing loss, also requires further characterization.

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