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Risk of Hearing Loss from IV Aminoglycosides in Cystic Fibrosis

Cumulative exposure to IV tobramycin and amikacin, which are critical for treating cystic fibrosis infections, increases the risk of hearing loss. A study, “The cumulative effects of intravenous antibiotic treatments on hearing in patients with cystic fibrosis,” published last month in the Journal of Cystic Fibrosis discusses how IV tobramycin, amikacin and vancomycin contribute to hearing loss in people with CF.

Tobramycin and amikacin (aminoglycoside antibiotics) are used to treat gram-negative bacteria such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Acinetobacter, and Enterobacter.

Vancomycin (a glycopeptide antibiotic) is used to treat MRSA.

The study divided 81 patients with CF into four groups based on their cumulative weighted dosage of IV aminoglycoside antibiotics.

After adjusting for gender and age at the time of hearing test, participants in the two highest-quartile exposure groups were almost 5 X more likely to have permanent sensorineural hearing loss than those in the two lowest-quartile exposure groups. There was a small group of CF patients who had normal hearing despite high exposure to IV-antibiotics.
The Journal of Cystic Fibrosis

Additional information about the study can be found in this report from The Hearing Review.

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