Inflammation Could Increase Hearing Loss Risk of Antibiotics Patients treated with a type of life-saving drug may be at an increased risk for hearing loss caused by the drug in the presence of inflammation, according to a new study of mice. Hearing loss is a known side effect of aminoglycoside antibiotics, which are crucial in treating serious infections. ... Research in Brief
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Research in Brief  |   October 01, 2015
Inflammation Could Increase Hearing Loss Risk of Antibiotics
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Hearing Disorders / Research in Brief
Research in Brief   |   October 01, 2015
Inflammation Could Increase Hearing Loss Risk of Antibiotics
The ASHA Leader, October 2015, Vol. 20, 16. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB3.20102015.16
The ASHA Leader, October 2015, Vol. 20, 16. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB3.20102015.16
Patients treated with a type of life-saving drug may be at an increased risk for hearing loss caused by the drug in the presence of inflammation, according to a new study of mice.
Hearing loss is a known side effect of aminoglycoside antibiotics, which are crucial in treating serious infections. But researchers at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) School of Medicine observed that the risk may be heightened because the inflammation caused by bacterial infections leads to increased uptake of the drugs in the cochlea.
“Most instances in which patients are treated with aminoglycosides involve infants with life-threatening infections. The costs of this incalculable loss are borne by patients and society,” says Peter S. Steyger, professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at OHSU’s Oregon Hearing Research Center and lead author of the study, which appears in the journal Science Translational Medicine. “When infants lose their hearing, they begin a long and arduous process to learn to listen and speak. This can interfere with their educational trajectory and psychosocial development, all of which can have a dramatic impact on their future employability, income and quality of life.”
Looking for ways to decrease the risk of hearing loss from the use of the antibiotics, Steyger and the research team studied two groups of mice—infected and healthy—that were given doses of aminoglycoside drugs. The sick mice with inflammation experienced greater hearing loss across a wide range of frequencies, much of which was permanent, compared to the healthy mice.
With their findings, the authors encourage clinicians to consider the long-term consequences of hearing loss when selecting antibiotics or other treatments for patients. They also note the importance of developing aminoglycosides that don’t permanently affect hair cells in the inner ear.
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October 2015
Volume 20, Issue 10