Clinicopathological Characteristics of Drug-Induced Acute Interstitial Nephritis and Role of Steroids in Management: A Single-Center Observational Study

Ayesha Aziz, Sonia Yaqub, Safia Awan, Amna Khalid, Muhammad Raheel Abdul Razzaque


Background: Acute interstitial nephritis (AIN) is a potentially reversible, but underdiagnosed cause of acute kidney injury. The role of steroids in the management of drug-induced AIN is debatable. There is scarcity of data on clinical characteristics of drug-induced AIN, management approach and effect of steroids on renal outcomes from the low-middle-income countries.

Methods: We performed a retrospective study of patients with biopsy-proven AIN over a period of 12 years. The main outcomes were recovery of renal function (early (? 3 weeks) or late (> 3 weeks)) and hemodialysis (HD) dependence at 12 weeks.

Results: A total of 48 (4.9%) AIN cases were found among 978 renal biopsies. Mean age was 47.6 12.1 years and 56.3% were males. The offending agent could be identified in half of the patients (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) most commonly followed by antibiotics, diuretics and proton pump inhibitor (PPI)). Three quarters of patients presented with estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) < 15 mL/min/1.73 m2 (n = 36), out of which 58.3% (n = 21) required HD. Thirty-nine (81.3%) patients ended up receiving steroids. Mean dose of prednisone was 0.8 0.2 mg/kg per day. Early use of steroids (? 11 days) was significantly associated with earlier (? 21 days) onset of recovery (P = 0.003) as compared to late use of steroids (> 11 days).

Conclusion: Our data showed the benefit of earlier use of steroids in achieving rapid and complete renal recovery in drug-induced AIN in a low-middle-income country with frequent use of over-the-counter drugs. Late steroid use (? 3 weeks) was not associated with any further recovery at an additional risk of exposing patients to undue adverse effects.

World J Nephrol Urol. 2022;11(1):24-30


Acute interstitial nephritis; Drug-induced AIN; Steroids; Kidney biopsy

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World Journal of Nephrology & Urology, quarterly, ISSN 1927-1239 (print), 1927-1247 (online), published by Elmer Press Inc.                     
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