Medicine

Antibiotics linked to increased risk of kidney stones

Antibiotics linked to increased risk of kidney stones

A new study suggests that taking oral antibiotics may have played a role in the massive increase of kidney stones in the United States since the '70s.

After adjusting for mitigating factors such as other medication use and being diagnosed with a urinary tract infection, diabetes or gout, they found that sulfas, cephalosporins, fluoroquinolones, nitrofurantoin/methenamine and broad-spectrum penicillins were all associated with a heightened risk of kidney stones, when taken three to 12 months before diagnosis.

While scientists have known about the changes antibiotics have on the human microbiome - crucial to our day-to-day health - this is the first time that a disruption in the microbiome has been linked to the occurrence of kidney stones.

Oral antibiotics could be responsible for the dramatic increase of kidney stones, according to a new study that covered 13 million people. Tasian noted that kidney stones were previously rare in children. For broad-spectrum penicillins, the increased risk was 27 per cent higher, the researchers added.

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Tasian said, the study team has been dealing with the risk-beneficial relationship and are looking forward to ensuring that the antibiotics are prescribed without increasing the side effects on the health. The results of their study appeared in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Emma Gaal is part of the epidemic of young people, especially girls, who develop kidney stones.

"The overall prevalence of kidney stones has risen by 70 percent over the past 30 years, with particularly sharp increases among adolescents and young women", said study leader Gregory E. Tasian, MD, MSCE, a pediatric urologist at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Previous research has shown that children receive more antibiotics than any other age group, and 30 percent of antibiotics prescribed during ambulatory care visits are inappropriate. For the study, the team analysed prior antibiotic exposure for almost 26,000 patients with kidney stones, compared to almost 260,000 control subjects.

Tasian and his colleagues are hoping to expand this research into broader, population-based studies to better understand how variations in microbiome composition may influence the development of kidney stones. Just because children are prescribed more of them as compared to adults, researchers suggest that the clinicians need to be more honest and mindful while prescribing medication especially when they are dealing with young patients.


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