A powerful class of antibiotics used to bring relief to people with cystic fibrosis (CF) could also increase the risk of permanent hearing loss, besides kidney damage, a study has found.
Aminoglycoside antibiotics is used by approximately 70,000 people worldwide who inherited the chronic disease that affects mostly the lungs, but also the pancreas, liver, kidneys and intestine.
The findings showed that patients who were administered a high dose of the antibiotics to reduce their respiratory infections were 4.79 times more likely to experience permanent hearing loss.
A situation that could further worsen due to isolation, depression and cognitive decline in such patients.
Aminoglycosides inhibit bacterial protein synthesis and is necessary to clear life-threatening infections, but it can also degrade auditory function in the inner ear as well as kidney function.
“Preventing or ameliorating the effects of permanent (hearing loss) is crucial for patients with CF who already have a significantly compromised quality of life due to the disease,” said lead author Angela Garinis, research associate at Oregon Health and Science University in the US.
For the study, published in the Journal of Cystic Fibrosis, the team examined the medical records of 81 CF patients, aged 15 to 63 years, grouping them into four quartiles based on the cumulative dosage of aminoglycoside antibiotics administered intravenously.
It is imperative for physicians to routinely monitor hearing in any patient receiving aminoglycosides intravenously, the study said.
Further, physicians treating patients with CF should consider alternative strategies for treating the symptoms of respiratory infections associated with the disease, the researchers suggested.