Rocephin Linked to Increased Risk of Child Kidney Failure: Study

A new study suggests that the antibiotic ceftriaxone, sold under the brand name Rocephin, may be linked to an increased risk of kidney failure in children.  

Chinese researchers found that Rocephin was associated with the creation of kidney stones and pediatric acute renal failure (PARF), but that recovery was possible with early treatment. Their findings were published online in the medical journal Pediatrics on March 24.

Rocephin (ceftriaxone) is an antibiotic used in adults to treat gonorrhea, but it is also heavily used to treat childhood infections. Formation of urine crystals have been observed as a result of Rocephin treatment in children in the past.

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This new study examined 31 cases of PARF treatment after children were given Rocephin from January 1, 2003 to June 30, 2012 at Tongji Hospital in Wuhan, China. The results indicate that the drug was given to children an average of five days before signs of renal failure, which included an inability to urine and pain urinating. The symptoms also included the formation of urine crystals known as uretic calculi.

Nine of the children recovered after just one to four days of pharmacotherapy, according to the researchers. But 21 of the children were resistant to drug treatment and had to undergo retrograde ureteral catheterization, which led to all but one child recovering almost immediately.

However, both treatments failed in one child, who had to undergo heomdialysis before normal urination was restored.

“Ceftriaxone therapy in children may cause PARF,” researchers concluded. “Early diagnosis and prompt pharmacological therapy are important in relieving the condition. Retrograde ureteral catheterization is an effective treatment of those who fail to respond to pharmacotherapy.”

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