Drug-induced kidney disease in the ICU: mechanisms, susceptibility, diagnosis and management strategies

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Purpose of review

Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a common complication in the critically ill population, is multifactorial and associated with increased mortality. Drug-induced kidney injury is a significant contributor to the development of AKI. The purpose of this review is to provide updates in the epidemiology, susceptibility and management of drug-induced kidney disease (DIKD).

Recent findings

Recent changes in guidelines for the management of serious infections in the critically ill have resulted in an increased frequency of DIKD. Varying definitions employed in clinical trials has complicated the awareness of this adverse event. Causality assessment is often missing from studies as it is complicated by the need to evaluate competing AKI risk factors. This has led to uncertainty in the nephrotoxic risk of commonly used drugs.


Standard criteria for DIKD should be applied in clinical trials to improve our understanding of the frequency of these events. Adjudication of these events will improve the clinician's ability to evaluate the causal relationship and relative contribution of specific drugs to the AKI event.

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