Vancomycin: Predictive risk factors for nephrotoxicity and implication for monitoring

John Taffou Fangtang, The University of Texas School of Public Health


The increased use of vancomycin in hospitals has resulted in a standard practice to monitor serum vancomycin levels because of possible nephrotoxicity. However, the routine monitoring of vancomycin serum concentration is under criticism and the cost effectiveness of such routine monitoring is in question because frequent monitoring neither results in increase efficacy nor decrease nephrotoxicity. The purpose of the present study is to determine factors that may place patients at increased risk of developing vancomycin induced nephrotoxicity and for whom monitoring may be most beneficial. From September to December 1992, 752 consecutive in patients at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, were prospectively evaluated for nephrotoxicity in order to describe predictive risk factors for developing vancomycin related nephrotoxicity. Ninety-five patients (13 percent) developed nephrotoxicity. A total of 299 patients (40 percent) were considered monitored (vancomycin serum levels determined during the course of therapy), and 346 patients (46 percent) were receiving concurrent moderate to highly nephrotoxic drugs. Factors that were found to be significantly associated with nephrotoxicity in univariate analysis were: gender, base serum creatinine greater than 1.5mg/dl, monitor, leukemia, concurrent moderate to highly nephrotoxic drugs, and APACHE III scores of 40 or more. Significant factors in the univariate analysis were then entered into a stepwise logistic regression analysis to determine independent predictive risk factors for vancomycin induced nephrotoxicity. Factors, with their corresponding odds ratios and 95% confidence limits, selected by stepwise logistic regression analysis to be predictive of vancomycin induced nephrotoxicity were: Concurrent therapy with moderate to highly nephrotoxic drugs (2.89; 1.76-4.74), APACHE III scores of 40 or more (1.98; 1.16-3.38), and male gender (1.98; 1.04-2.71). Subgroup (monitor and non-monitor) analysis showed that male (OR = 1.87; 95% CI = 1.01, 3.45) and moderate to highly nephrotoxic drugs (OR = 4.58; 95% CI = 2.11, 9.94) were significant for nephrotoxicity in monitored patients. However, only APACHE III score (OR = 2.67; 95% CI = 1.13,6.29) was significant for nephrotoxicity in non-monitored patients. The conclusion drawn from this study is that not every patient receiving vancomycin therapy needs frequent monitoring of vancomycin serum levels. Such routine monitoring may be appropriate in patients with one or more of the identified risk factors and low risk patients do not need to be subjected to the discomfort and added cost of multiple blood sampling. Such prudent selection of patients to monitor may decrease cost to patients and hospital.

Subject Area

Pharmaceuticals|Surgery|Public health|Health care

Recommended Citation

Fangtang, John Taffou, "Vancomycin: Predictive risk factors for nephrotoxicity and implication for monitoring" (1996). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9700040.