Oral antibiotic use may increase risk of developing kidney stones, shows study

Small children are prescribed antibiotics more than any other group

"The overall prevalence of kidney stones has risen by 70 per cent over the past 30 years, with particularly sharp increases among adolescents and young women", said lead author Gregory E. Tasian from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). This is the first time that these medicines have been linked to this condition.

After getting through the health reports of over 13.9 million patients, the researchers came to the conclusion that children and adults who consumed antibiotics frequently are more prone towards risks of kidney stones.

The data included the treatment history of 26,000 individuals with kidney stones, which the team compared with the health records of nearly 260,000 people who had not developed kidney stones (the controls). This can also get a solution to reduce the risks of kidney stones as well. "So if they were prescribed at, say, 15 years of age, the risk was much higher than if it was prescribed later in life", said Dr. Tasian.

They found that five classes of oral antibiotics were associated with a diagnosis of kidney stone disease. The adjusted odds ratio (95% confidence interval) was 2.33 (2.19 to 2.48) for sulfas, 1.88 (1.75 to 2.01) for cephalosporins, 1.67 (1.54 to 1.81) for fluoroquinolones, 1.70 (1.55 to 1.88) for nitrofurantoin/methenamine, and 1.27 (1.18 to 1.36) for broad-spectrum penicillins.

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Those who received sulfa antibiotics were twice as likely as people in the control group to develop kidney stones, while individuals who received broad-spectrum penicillins were 27 percent more likely.

Scientists already knew that antibiotics alter the composition of the human microbiome-;the community of microorganisms in the body. 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. Antibiotics, prescribed more often in children, may play a role in this increase.

But, for the first time, research published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology pinpoints a link between antibiotics and kidney stones. He added, "Our findings suggest that antibiotic prescription practices represent a modifiable risk factor-;a change in prescribing patterns might decrease the current epidemic of kidney stones in children".

Tasian and colleagues are continuing to investigate the microbiomes of children and adolescents with kidney stones in a single-center study at CHOP. The hope is that they can conduct a broader, population-based research to equip people with a better understanding of how alterations in microbiomes affect the development of kidney stones.

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