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Side effects of aminoglycosides on the kidney, ear and balance in cystic fibrosis
  1. Andrew Prayle1,
  2. Alan Watson2,
  3. Heather Fortnum3,
  4. Alan Smyth1
  1. 1Child Health and Nottingham Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit, University of Nottingham, Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham, UK
  2. 2Children's Renal and Urology Unit, Nottingham University Hospitals, Nottingham, UK
  3. 3National Biomedical Research Unit in Hearing, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Alan Smyth, Child Health and Nottingham Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit, University of Nottingham, E Floor East Block, Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham NG7 2UH, UK; alan.smyth{at}


Aminoglycoside antibiotics are a central component of the treatment of pulmonary exacerbations of cystic fibrosis (CF) and slow the decline in lung function which ultimately causes the death of most patients. The prognosis of CF has improved, and thus side effects of treatments have become increasingly important. Observational studies suggest that the morbidity from side effects of aminoglycosides is disturbingly common, and that aggressive treatment may lead to more side effects. This review of the current literature on side effects of aminoglycosides considers the pathophysiological mechanisms, epidemiology and risk factors, investigation of side effects and preventative strategies. Treatments which have shown early promise are identified and areas of future research are discussed.

  • Cystic fibrosis
  • antibacterial agents
  • toxicity
  • kidney failure
  • chronic
  • hearing loss
  • bacterial infection
  • drug reactions

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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