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Antibiotics Post Kidney Transplant do not Prevent Viral Infection

Update Date: Nov 15, 2014 12:19 PM EST

Patients who underwent a kidney transplant did not have a reduced risk of viral infection if they were prescribed an antibiotic, a new study reported. According to the research team, taking levofloxacin for three months could increase patients' risk of adverse events.

For this study, the research team headed by Greg A. Knoll, M.D., of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada recruited 154 patients who recently received a kidney donated by a living or deceased person. 76 of them were randomly assigned to the levofloxacin group and 78 of them were put into the control group that took a placebo. The drug course started five days after transplantation and lasted for three months.

Within the first year, the team tested the patients for presence of a BK virus infection. At the average follow-up time of 46.5 weeks in the levofloxacin group, the researchers found that 29 percent of the patients, or 22 people, had BK virus in their urine. For the placebo group, 33.3 percent or 26 patients had evidence of the virus at the average follow-up time of 46.3 weeks. The team concluded that there were not many differences in health between the two groups. Patients in the antibiotic group, however, had an increased risk of adverse events.

"These findings do not support the use of levofloxacin to prevent posttransplantation BK virus infection," the authors concluded, according to the press release.

The study was published in the JAMA.

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