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Int J Med Sci. 2019 Oct 15;16(11):1504-1509. doi: 10.7150/ijms.38605. eCollection 2019.

Rhabdomyolysis Associations with Antibiotics: A Pharmacovigilance Study of the FDA Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS).

Teng C1,2, Baus C1,2, Wilson JP3, Frei CR1,2,4,5.

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Pharmacotherapy Division, College of Pharmacy, The University of Texas at Austin, San Antonio, TX, USA.
Pharmacotherapy Education and Research Center, Long School of Medicine, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, USA.
Health Outcomes Division, College of Pharmacy, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA.
South Texas Veterans Health Care System, San Antonio, TX, USA.
University Health System, San Antonio, TX, USA.


Introduction: Daptomycin, macrolides, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, linezolid, fluoroquinolones, and cefdinir are known to be associated with rhabdomyolysis. Other antibiotics may also lead to rhabdomyolysis, but no study has systemically compared rhabdomyolysis associations for many available antibiotics. Objectives: The objective of this study was to evaluate the association between rhabdomyolysis and many available antibiotics using the FDA Adverse Event Report System (FAERS). Methods: FAERS reports from January 1, 2004 to December 31, 2017 were included in the study. The Medical Dictionary for Regulatory Activities (MedDRA) was used to identify rhabdomyolysis cases. Reporting Odds Ratios (RORs) and corresponding 95% confidence intervals (95%CI) for the association between antibiotics and rhabdomyolysis were calculated. An association was considered statistically significant when the lower limit of the 95%CI was greater than 1.0. Results: A total of 2,334,959 reports (including 7,685 rhabdomyolysis reports) were considered, after inclusion criteria were applied. Daptomycin had the greatest proportion of rhabdomyolysis reports, representing 5.5% of all daptomycin reports. Statistically significant rhabdomyolysis RORs (95% CI) for antibiotics were (in descending order): daptomycin 17.94 (14.08-22.85), cefditoren 8.61 (3.54-20.94), cefaclor 7.16 (2.28-22.49), erythromycin 5.93 (3.17-11.10), norfloxacin 4.50 (1.44-14.07), clarithromycin 3.95 (2.77-5.64), meropenem 3.19 (1.51-6.72), azithromycin 2.94 (1.96-4.39), cefdinir 2.84 (1.06-7.62), piperacillin-tazobactam 2.61 (1.48-4.61), trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole 2.53 (1.52-4.21), linezolid 2.49 (1.47-4.21), ciprofloxacin 2.10 (1.51-2.92). Conclusions: This study confirms prior evidence for rhabdomyolysis associations with daptomycin, macrolides, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, linezolid, fluoroquinolones, and cefdinir. This study also identifies previously unknown rhabdomyolysis associations with meropenem, cefditoren, cefaclor, and piperacillin-tazobactam.


adverse drug events; antibiotics; antimicrobial stewardship; rhabdomyolysis

Conflict of interest statement

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interest exists.

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