Protective effect of N-acetylcysteine from drug-induced ototoxicity in uraemic patients with CAPD peritonitis

Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2011 Dec;26(12):4073-8. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfr211. Epub 2011 May 6.


Aim: Peritonitis is currently one of the leading complications of continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) treatment. Aminoglycosides and vancomycin are used in the treatment of CAPD peritonitis despite their potential risk for ototoxicity. N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is a molecule used in the treatment and prophylaxis of many diseases related to oxidative stress. The aim of this study was to examine whether ototoxicity due to antibiotics used in the treatment of CAPD peritonitis can be prevented by NAC.

Methods: Sixty patients, who first developed CAPD peritonitis attacks from February 2008 to April 2010 were included in this study. Patients were divided into two groups, those taking an additional NAC treatment (n = 30) and a control group (n = 30). Low- and high-frequency hearing function tests were performed on the two groups before treatment (baseline), at the end of the first (early follow-up) and the fourth week after the treatment (late follow-up). Total doses of vancomycin and amikacin were recorded.

Results: There was no statistically significant difference between the groups in terms of hearing functions at the beginning. However, patients taking NAC had better hearing function test results 4 weeks after the treatment compared with those of the control group (P < 0.05). There were no statistical differences between posttreatment low-frequency hearing function tests conducted at the baseline and the first and the fourth weeks in patients taking NAC. The first and the fourth week's low-frequency hearing functions worsened when compared with the baseline low-frequency results in the control group (P < 0.001). It was found that NAC had a protective effect against ototoxicity on low-frequency (0.25-8 KHz) hearing functions. The first and the fourth week's high-frequency hearing functions improved when compared with baseline high-frequency hearing functions in patients taking NAC (P < 0.05), while they worsened. The first and fourth week's high-frequency tests worsened when compared with the baseline high-frequency tests in the control group (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: The present study suggests that intraperitoneal aminoglycoside and vancomycin administration in CAPD patients may cause low- and high-frequency hearing loss, and this ototoxic effect is related to the dose given. It was found that when the antioxidant NAC is administered alone, it prevents ototoxicity, associated with intraperitoneal amikacin and vancomycin in patients with CAPD peritonitis. In addition, it was revealed that NAC may also have a curative effect on impaired high-frequency hearing functions.

Trial registration: NCT01131468.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcysteine / therapeutic use*
  • Amikacin / adverse effects*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / adverse effects*
  • Ear Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Ear Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Free Radical Scavengers / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Peritoneal Dialysis, Continuous Ambulatory* / adverse effects
  • Peritonitis / drug therapy*
  • Peritonitis / etiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Vancomycin / adverse effects*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Vancomycin
  • Amikacin
  • Acetylcysteine

Associated data