Rhabdomyolysis associations with antibiotics: A pharmacovigilance study of the FDA adverse event reporting system (FAERS)

Chengwen Teng, Courtney Baus, James P. Wilson, Christopher R. Frei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Introduction: Daptomycin, macrolides, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, linezolid, fluoroquinolones, and cefdinir are known to be associated with rhabdomyolysis. Other antibiotics may also lead to rhabdomyolysis, but no study has systemically compared rhabdomyolysis associations for many available antibiotics. Objectives: The objective of this study was to evaluate the association between rhabdomyolysis and many available antibiotics using the FDA Adverse Event Report System (FAERS). Methods: FAERS reports from January 1, 2004 to December 31, 2017 were included in the study. The Medical Dictionary for Regulatory Activities (MedDRA) was used to identify rhabdomyolysis cases. Reporting Odds Ratios (RORs) and corresponding 95% confidence intervals (95%CI) for the association between antibiotics and rhabdomyolysis were calculated. An association was considered statistically significant when the lower limit of the 95%CI was greater than 1.0. Results: A total of 2,334,959 reports (including 7,685 rhabdomyolysis reports) were considered, after inclusion criteria were applied. Daptomycin had the greatest proportion of rhabdomyolysis reports, representing 5.5% of all daptomycin reports. Statistically significant rhabdomyolysis RORs (95% CI) for antibiotics were (in descending order): daptomycin 17.94 (14.08-22.85), cefditoren 8.61 (3.54-20.94), cefaclor 7.16 (2.28-22.49), erythromycin 5.93 (3.17-11.10), norfloxacin 4.50 (1.44-14.07), clarithromycin 3.95 (2.77-5.64), meropenem 3.19 (1.51-6.72), azithromycin 2.94 (1.96-4.39), cefdinir 2.84 (1.06-7.62), piperacillin-tazobactam 2.61 (1.48-4.61), trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole 2.53 (1.52-4.21), linezolid 2.49 (1.47-4.21), ciprofloxacin 2.10 (1.51-2.92). Conclusions: This study confirms prior evidence for rhabdomyolysis associations with daptomycin, macrolides, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, linezolid, fluoroquinolones, and cefdinir. This study also identifies previously unknown rhabdomyolysis associations with meropenem, cefditoren, cefaclor, and piperacillin-tazobactam.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1504-1509
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Medical Sciences
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Adverse drug events
  • Antibiotics
  • Antimicrobial stewardship
  • Rhabdomyolysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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