Purpose: Although dozens of studies have associated vancomycin + piperacillin-tazobactam with increased acute kidney injury (AKI) risk, it is unclear whether the association represents true injury or a pseudotoxicity characterized by isolated effects on creatinine secretion. We tested this hypothesis by contrasting changes in creatinine concentration after antibiotic initiation with changes in cystatin C concentration, a kidney biomarker unaffected by tubular secretion.
Methods: We included patients enrolled in the Molecular Epidemiology of SepsiS in the ICU (MESSI) prospective cohort who were treated for ≥ 48 h with vancomycin + piperacillin-tazobactam or vancomycin + cefepime. Kidney function biomarkers [creatinine, cystatin C, and blood urea nitrogen (BUN)] were measured before antibiotic treatment and at day two after initiation. Creatinine-defined AKI and dialysis were examined through day-14, and mortality through day-30. Inverse probability of treatment weighting was used to adjust for confounding. Multiple imputation was used to impute missing baseline covariates.
Results: The study included 739 patients (vancomycin + piperacillin-tazobactam n = 297, vancomycin + cefepime n = 442), of whom 192 had cystatin C measurements. Vancomycin + piperacillin-tazobactam was associated with a higher percentage increase of creatinine at day-two 8.04% (95% CI 1.21, 15.34) and higher incidence of creatinine-defined AKI: rate ratio (RR) 1.34 (95% CI 1.01, 1.78). In contrast, vancomycin + piperacillin-tazobactam was not associated with change in alternative biomarkers: cystatin C: - 5.63% (95% CI - 18.19, 8.86); BUN: - 4.51% (95% CI - 12.83, 4.59); or clinical outcomes: dialysis: RR 0.63 (95% CI 0.31, 1.29); mortality: RR 1.05 (95%CI 0.79, 1.41).
Conclusions: Vancomycin + piperacillin-tazobactam was associated with creatinine-defined AKI, but not changes in alternative kidney biomarkers, dialysis, or mortality, supporting the hypothesis that vancomycin + piperacillin-tazobactam effects on creatinine represent pseudotoxicity.
Keywords: Acute kidney injury; Cystatin C; Nephrotoxicity; Sepsis; Vancomycin; piperacillin–tazobactam.
© 2022. The Author(s).