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CMAJ. 2013 Jul 9;185(10):E475-82. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.121730. Epub 2013 Jun 3.

Risk of acute kidney injury associated with the use of fluoroquinolones.

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Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Office of Pharmacovigilance and Epidemiology, Silver Spring, MD, USA.



Case reports indicate that the use of fluoroquinolones may lead to acute kidney injury. We studied the association between the use of oral fluoroquinolones and acute kidney injury, and we examined interaction with renin-angiotensin-system blockers.


We formed a nested cohort of men aged 40-85 enrolled in the United States IMS LifeLink Health Plan Claims Database between 2001 and 2011. We defined cases as men admitted to hospital for acute kidney injury, and controls were admitted to hospital with a different presenting diagnosis. Using risk-set sampling, we matched 10 controls to each case based on hospital admission, calendar time (within 6 wk), cohort entrance (within 6 wk) and age (within 5 yr). We used conditional logistic regression to assess the rate ratio (RR) for acute kidney injury with current, recent and past use of fluoroquinolones, adjusted by potential confounding variables. We repeated this analysis with amoxicillin and azithromycin as controls. We used a case-time-control design for our secondary analysis.


We identified 1292 cases and 12 651 matched controls. Current fluoroquinolone use had a 2.18-fold (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.74-2.73) higher adjusted RR of acute kidney injury compared with no use. There was no association between acute kidney injury and recent (adjusted RR 0.87, 95% CI 0.66-1.16) or past (RR 0.86, 95% CI 0.66-1.12) use. The absolute increase in acute kidney injury was 6.5 events per 10 000 person-years. We observed 1 additional case per 1529 patients given fluoroquinolones or per 3287 prescriptions dispensed. The dual use of fluoroquinolones and renin-angiotensin-system blockers had an RR of 4.46 (95% CI 2.84-6.99) for acute kidney injury. Our case-time-control analysis confirmed an increased risk of acute kidney injury with fluoroquinolone use (RR 2.16, 95% CI 1.52-3.18). The use of amoxicillin or azithromycin was not associated with acute kidney injury.


We found a small, but significant, increased risk of acute kidney injury among men with the use of oral fluoroquinolones, as well as a significant interaction between the concomitant use of fluoroquinolones and renin-angiotensin-system blockers.

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