News & Events
September 19, 2017
Antibiotics used to treat cystic fibrosis increase risk of permanent hearing loss

[] A study confirms that a class of antibiotics used to treat people with cystic fibrosis increases the risk of permanent hearing loss. As the first of its kind, the study further proves that high cumulative dosages over time significantly increase this risk.

A study reveals that aminoglycoside antibiotics used to treat cystic fibrosis increases risk of permanent hearing loss. In addition, researchers found that high cumulative amounts of the antibiotics significantly increase the risk of permanent hearing loss. In fact, the study shows that high dosage patients are almost five times more likely to experience permanent hearing loss than patients with a lower dosage.

First study to measure cumulative dosages

The study examined 81 patients by dividing them into four groups depending on the cumulative dosages of antibiotics they had been treated with. Researchers found that the two patient groups with the highest dosages of aminoglycoside antibiotics where 4.79 times more likely to experience hearing loss than the two groups with the lowest dosages.

While previous studies have demonstrated a greater risk of hearing loss from aminoglycoside antibiotics, this study is the first to examine the effect of cumulative dosages over a patient’s lifetime while also weighing the daily dosing schedule used by patients.

About cystic fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis, or CF, is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and the digestive system. Among other things, the disease can lead to life-threatening infections and reduced quality of life.

According to the researchers of the study, their findings will allow both patients and physicians to discuss possible modifications to the treatment of cystic fibrosis.

“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,” the researchers concluded.

About the study

The study was conducted by researchers at Oregon Health & Science University and published in the Journal of Cystic Fibrosis. It included 81 patients with cystic fibrosis, aged 15 to 63 years.

Sources: Garinis AC, et al, The cumulative effects of intravenous antibiotic treatments on hearing in patients with cystic fibrosis, J Cyst Fibros (2017), and