In a new study, researchers found that a commonly used class of antibiotics could increase nerve damage risk.
Patients who used the antibiotics had an almost 50% higher risk of suffering a serious and potentially permanent form of nerve damage.
The research was conducted by a team from the University of Dundee.
Previous research has shown that the use of fluoroquinolone antibiotics may contribute to peripheral neuropathy.
In this condition, nerves, most commonly affecting the lower limbs, can be affected, leading to numbness, pain, or problems with balance.
However, it has been unknown how strong this link was and how it could be affected by the length of treatment, age, and gender.
In the study, the team looked at a database of 1.3 million adults issued one or more prescriptions of fluoroquinolone or amoxicillin-clavulanate antibiotics.
These people had no diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy at the beginning of treatment.
The researchers found that the use of systemic fluoroquinolone antibiotics appeared to increase the risk of peripheral neuropathy by 47%.
On the other hand, patients prescribed with amoxicillin-clavulanate were not more likely to experience peripheral neuropathy.
The team also found that the risk was higher for men and rose with age and with the length of fluoroquinolone treatment.
The researchers suggest that the findings should be considered as one of the potential side effects before prescribing antibiotics.
The leader of the study is Dr. Daniel Morales, of the University’s School of Medicine.
The study is published in the journal JAMA Neurology.
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