NAC is useful in preventing damage to hearing caused by antibiotic drugs

December 26, 2007

Aminoglycoside antibiotics cause toxicity to the kidneys that can reverse after termination of drug use, and permanent damage to hearing (ototoxicity). Because of their toxicity, and because they work against serious infections these antibiotics are reserved for severe infections by specific-dangerous bacteria. Free radical damage generated by the antibiotics contributes to both types of toxicity.

In this study 53 dialysis patients with blood infections (bacteremia) caused by the catheter used in dialysis were scheduled for treatment with the antibiotic gentamicin; an aminoglycoside antibiotic known for its ability to damage hearing. The patients were split into two groups - one of which received the supplement NAC along with the antibiotic. There hearing was monitored using standard pure tone audiograms over a range of frequencies. The hearing test was given before antibiotic therapy and again at one week after and at six weeks after completing antibiotic therapy ( gentamycin therapy typically lasted for 15 days).

At one week after and six weeks after cessation of antibiotic therapy significantly fewer of the patients protected by NAC suffered toxicity to their hearing than those in the group not given NAC. The patients not protected with NAC did not just suffer with simple damage to hearing but more frequently suffered it in both ears. The study is published in the August 2007 issue of the American journal Kidney International and is discussed in the September 2007 issue of the British journal Nature Clinical Practice Nephrology.

Some great studies on hearing and nutrients