Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

High potassium? Check your antibiotic

Date:
July 13, 2010
Source:
American Society of Nephrology
Summary:
Older adults taking the antibiotic combination trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX) -- widely prescribed for urinary tract infections -- are at increased risk of elevated potassium levels, called hyperkalemia, according to a new study.

Older adults taking the antibiotic combination trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX) -- widely prescribed for urinary tract infections -- are at increased risk of elevated potassium levels, called hyperkalemia, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN).

Related Articles


"We found a significant risk of severe hyperkalemia associated with TMP-SMX," comments Matthew A. Weir, MD (London Health Science Centre).

The study was based on 300,000 older adults in Ontario, Canada, who were taking beta-blockers -- a widely used class of blood pressure drugs. From this group, the researchers identified 189 patients who were hospitalized for severe hyperkalemia shortly after starting TMP-SMX or other antibiotics commonly used for urinary tract infections.

"Hyperkalemia is a potentially deadly adverse drug reaction, and TMP-SMX is one of the most commonly prescribed antibiotics in North America," Weir explains. "TMP-SMX can decrease the kidney's ability to remove potassium from the body. Potassium plays an important role in regulating heartbeat, and severe episodes of hyperkalemia can cause fatal disturbances in the heart rhythm."

Patients receiving TMP-SMX were more likely to develop dangerously high potassium levels, the study found. Weir says, "The risk of severe hyperkalemia is five times higher in patients prescribed TMP-SMX compared to those prescribed amoxicillin -- another popular antibiotic to treat simple bladder infections."

Very few of the patients taking TMP-SMX underwent subsequent blood testing of their potassium level. "Increasing this type of testing represents an avenue to potentially decrease the risk of hyperkalemia associated with TMP-SMX," Weir adds.

Beta-blockers and TMP-SMX can interact, so the researchers had suspected that patients taking both drugs would be at increased risk of hyperkalemia. However, the increase in hyperkalemia with TMP-SMX did not appear any greater in patients who were also taking beta-blockers.

In conducting the study, the researchers used the extensive Ontario health administrative databases. "Without the use of this powerful resource, quantifying this adverse drug reaction would not have been possible," says Weir.

The study had some important limitations -- as in all observational studies, the patients were not randomly assigned to different antibiotics. "Also, data regarding factors that can predispose to hyperkalemia, such as diet and levels of physical activity were not available to us," notes Weir. He points out that the results may not be applicable to younger patients.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society of Nephrology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Weir et al. Beta-Blockers, Trimethoprim-Sulfamethoxazole, and the Risk of Hyperkalemia Requiring Hospitalization in the Elderly: A Nested Case-Control Study. Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, 2010; DOI: 10.2215/CJN.01970310

Cite This Page:

American Society of Nephrology. "High potassium? Check your antibiotic." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100701183516.htm>.
American Society of Nephrology. (2010, July 13). High potassium? Check your antibiotic. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100701183516.htm
American Society of Nephrology. "High potassium? Check your antibiotic." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100701183516.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins