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, 13 (4), 924-9

Rifampicin-induced Acute Renal Failure: A Series of 60 Patients


Rifampicin-induced Acute Renal Failure: A Series of 60 Patients

A Covic et al. Nephrol Dial Transplant.


Background: Since 1971, 55 case-reports of rifampicin-induced ARF have been published, but systematic data on this condition are not available, in view of the disparate nature of the observations.

Methods: We retrospectively assessed prevalence, clinical and biochemical features, and prognostic factors of 60 consecutive cases (41 males/19 females, age 22-68 years), who were admitted to the Iasi Dialysis Centre from 1987 to 1995 for acute renal failure (ARF) following re-treatment with rifampicin.

Results: The clinical appearance consisted mainly of gastrointestinal and 'flu-like' symptoms and clinical signs of intravascular haemolysis (the latter in 17% of cases). Frequent laboratory findings were anaemia (96% of cases), leukocytosis (63%), and thrombocytopenia (50%). Severe anaemia was associated with marked haemolysis (25% cases), thrombocytopenia, longer anuria, and slower rate of renal function recovery. Signs of hepatic injury were found in 25% of patients, but it did not seem to affect the outcome of renal function. Prognostic factors in post-rifampicin ARF proved to be the following: the duration of the anuric phase (correlated with the number of dialysis sessions and with the rate of decrease of azotaemia) and the severity of the immunological abnormalities and inflammatory syndrome (haemolysis, leukocytosis, hypergammaglobulinaemia). Post-rifampicin ARF accounted for 16.6% of all ARF cases hospitalized in our Centre during the studied period. Its clinical course was favourable; the mortality rate was only 1.6% (1 case), compared to a 20% general mortality rate among all ARF patients. Full recovery of renal function was achieved in 40% and 96% of patients, 30 and 90 days respectively from onset.

Conclusions: ARF after treatment with rifampicin is not an uncommon condition, especially when tuberculosis prevalence is high, but renal prognosis is usually favourable. Thrombocytopenia, immune haemolytic anaemia, and intravascular haemolysis are frequent complications which are associated with a more severe renal injury.

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