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Association between tetracycline or doxycycline and hepatotoxicity


An FDA Working Group, along with representatives of PhRMA and the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, as well as the Institute of Medicine.

Report ‘To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health Care System’ have suggested that post-marketing drug surveillance is a important method to decrease adverse drug events. While tetracyclines are known to cause hepatotoxicity, no post-marketing drug surveillance studies have examined the risk of developing hepatotoxicity with tetracyclines. Therefore, the objective of this study is to determine the difference in risk of hepatotoxicity in patients receiving doxycycline or tetracycline using California Medicaid claims.

This study used a retrospective, matched case–control study using California Medicaid

claims data. The cases were defined as recipients who had at least one diagnosis of hepatotoxicity any time from 1 July 1999 to 31 December 2001. One control was identified for each case, matched on age, gender and race. Logistic regression was used to determine the adjusted odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence intervals for current users and past users of tetracycline and doxycycline. Covariates controlled for in the analysis were age, use of other hepatotoxic drugs, renal dysfunction, pregnancy, and alcohol or illicit drug use.

A total of 3377 cases of hepatotoxicity were identified. Current users and past users of tetracycline had a statistically significant increased risk of developing hepatotoxicity (current

use OR 3.70, 95% CI 1.19–11.45; past use OR 2.72, 95% CI 1.26–5.85). Current users or past

users of doxycycline did not have an increased risk of developing hepatotoxicity (current use OR 1.49, 95% CI 0.61–3.62; past use OR 1.74, 95% CI 0.99–3.06). Tetracycline was commonly used for

acne, acute bronchitis and upper respiratory infections. Doxycycline was commonly used for acute bronchitis, vaginitis and acne. Discussion and conclusion: Doxycycline was potentially less hepatotoxic than tetracycline. Doxycycline could potentially be a safe substitute for tetracycline, when appropriate.

Source : Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics (2007) 32, 483–487