5-ASA induced interstitial nephritis in patients with inflammatory bowel disease: a systematic review

Eur J Med Res. 2022 Apr 29;27(1):61. doi: 10.1186/s40001-022-00687-y.


Background: Acute interstitial nephritis (AIN) is an important cause of kidney injury accounting for up to 27% of unexplained renal impairment. In up to 70% of cases, drugs, including aminosalicylates, are reported as the underlying cause. Following two recent paediatric cases of suspected mesalazine induced AIN within our own department, we performed a systematic review of the literature to address the following question: In patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), is interstitial nephritis associated with 5-aminosalicylate (5-ASA) treatment? Our primary objective was to identify the number of cases reported in the literature of biopsy-proven 5-ASA induced interstitial nephritis, in children and adults with IBD. We also aimed to identify which variables influence the onset, severity and recovery of 5-ASA interstitial nephritis.

Methods: Embase and PubMed databases were searched from inception to 07/10/20. Search terms had three main themes: "inflammatory bowel disease", "interstitial nephritis" and "aminosalicylates". Studies were included if they reported an outcome of AIN, confirmed on biopsy, suspected to be secondary to a 5-ASA drug in those with IBD. A narrative synthesis was performed.

Results: Forty-one case reports were identified. Mesalazine was the most frequently reported aminosalicylate associated with AIN (95%). The median duration of treatment before AIN was diagnosed was 2.3 years (Interquartile Range (IQR) 12-48 months). The median rise in creatinine was 3.3 times the baseline measurement (IQR 2.5-5.5). Aminosalicylate withdrawal and steroids were the most frequently used treatments. Despite treatment, 15% of patients developed end-stage renal failure.

Conclusions: AIN is a serious adverse drug reaction associated with aminosalicylates, with mesalazine accounting for most reports. The current guidance of annual monitoring of renal function may not be sufficient to identify cases early. Given the severity of AIN and reports in the literature that early treatment with steroids may be beneficial, we would recommend at least 6 monthly monitoring of renal function. PROSPERO registration number CRD42020205387.

Keywords: 5-aminosalycilate; Drug induced acute interstitial nephritis; Inflammatory bowel disease.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / adverse effects
  • Child
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / chemically induced
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / complications
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / drug therapy
  • Male
  • Mesalamine / adverse effects
  • Nephritis, Interstitial* / chemically induced
  • Nephritis, Interstitial* / drug therapy
  • Nephritis, Interstitial* / pathology


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Mesalamine

Supplementary concepts

  • Acute Tubulointerstitial Nephritis