Dependent on oral antibiotics? It may up kidney stones risk

Small children are prescribed antibiotics more than any other group

According to Gregory E. Tasian who is a pediatric urologist and the leader of this research, the entire prevalence regarding kidney stones has seen an increase of around 70% in the last 30 years.

Children and adults treated with oral antibiotics may have a higher risk of developing kidney stones, according to a new study.

"Sulfa drugs include medications like Septer or Bactrim some of the other antibiotic classes include fluoroquinolones which would be something like ciprofloxacin or levofloxacin and Levaquin", said Tasian. To be clear, the study doesn't conclude that taking antibiotics automatically means that a person will develop kidney stones, but Tasian explained that the most likely explanation between the two is the interaction between antibiotics and the urinary and gut microbiome.

But for those who took broad-spectrum penicillins the risk was slightly less, at 27pc higher than normal.

"I think this is the tip of the iceberg", Tasian says. The results of their study appeared in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

The exact reason why kidney stones are on the rise is unknown, but the study has found that antibiotic intake may play a key role, especially considering the fact that children are given more antibiotics than adults.


Exposure to any one of five different antibiotic classes 3-12 months before the index date was associated with nephrolithiasis. Ingestion of broad-spectrum penicillins, for example, yielded a 27 percent increase in kidney stone risk.

Sulfas, which are often used to treat urinary tract infections and burns, were associated with the greatest uptick in risk: a 2.3-fold increase, compared to people who had not taken the medication.

Drawing on health records from the United Kingdom, the team analysed prior antibiotic exposure for almost 26,000 patients with kidney stones and compared them with almost 260,000 control subjects. The risk of nephrolithiasis decreased over time, but it remained elevated at 3-5 years after the antibiotic prescription.

Conclusions Oral antibiotics associated with increased odds of nephrolithiasis, with the greatest odds for recent exposure and exposure at younger age.

Tasian pointed out that other researchers have found that roughly 30 percent of antibiotics prescribed in office visits are inappropriate, and children receive more antibiotics than any other age group, so the new findings reinforce the need for clinicians to be careful in prescribing correct antibiotics.

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