June 21, 2018

Antibiotics may play role in more adolescents getting kidney stones

12 May 2018, 10:25 | Silvia Roy

Supported by Antibiotics May Raise the Risk for Kidney Stones By Nicholas Bakalar

Supported by Antibiotics May Raise the Risk for Kidney Stones By Nicholas Bakalar

USA pediatric researchers found that children and adults treated with certain antibiotics had a greater risk of developing 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.

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.

Over the past 30 years, the overall prevalence of kidney stones has risen by 70pc, particularly among young women and adolescents, despite it being previously rare in the latter.

This lengthy time frame was chosen because kidney stones can take weeks or even months to form.

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In some cases, small solid pebbles pass through the urinary tract without symptoms, while other people experience blood in the urine alongside sharp pain in the back, side, lower abdomen or groin. The theory is that the drugs wipe out some of the gut bacteria which breaks down oxalate, which is the key component in kidney stones.

Tasian noted that over the last three decades kidney stone incidence has skyrocketed by 70 percent, largely among children and adolescents. Antibiotics, prescribed more often in children, may play a role in this increase.

Researchers examined the electronic health records of more than 13 million people who sought care in the United Kingdom between 1994 and 2015. Their goal is to develop a bigger and a population-based research that will help people understand the process easily of how the changes in microbiomes in the body effect in the production of kidney stones.

Exposure to any one of five different antibiotic classes 3-12 months before the index date was associated with nephrolithiasis.

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It showed patients who took oral antibiotics were more likely to develop kidney stones up to fie years later.

"For some medications, the risk was about 50 percent increase for other medication it was about a two times greater increase, so there was a lot of variation depending on the antibiotic class", said Dr. Gregory Tasian, who led the research at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. While antibiotics are essential for stopping serious infections, Dr. Tasian says: "We should be using antibiotics appropriately and judiciously".

They believe that their findings should inform doctors' decisions when considering whether or not to prescribe antibiotics to children, as they are the greatest recipients of these drugs.

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