Acute Interstitial Nephritis

  • Definition

    Acute interstitial nephritis is a kidney disorder that happens when the kidneys are unable to filter waste and fluid properly due to inflammation of the kidney.
    The Kidneys
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  • Causes

    Acute interstitial nephritis can be caused by:
    • Certain medications
      • Antibiotics
      • Anti-ulcer drugs
      • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
      • Diuretics
    • Infections such as:
    • Conditions that affect the immune system such as lupus
  • Risk Factors

    Risk factors that increase your chance of developing acute interstitial nephritis include:
    • In adults: drug or medication use
    • In children: infection
  • Symptoms

    Symptoms include:
    • Decrease in urine output
    • Blood in urine
    • Side or loin pain
    • Swelling of the body
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Loss of appetite
    • Weakness
    • Aching joints
    • Fever
    • Rash
  • Diagnosis

    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Tests may include:
  • Treatment

    Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. You treatment will depend on the cause of your acute interstitial nephritis. Treatment options include the following:
    If medications are the cause of your interstitial nephritis, your doctor may have you stop taking medications or prescribe a different one.
    Your doctor may prescribe the following:
    • Antibiotics to treat infection
    • Corticosteroid or cyclophosphamide to treat interstitial nephritis
    Usually, a kidney biopsy is done to confirm the diagnosis before starting a corticosteroid or cyclophosphamide.
    Some people with interstitial nephritis need dialysis . During dialysis, a machine does the work of your kidneys by removing waste.
  • Prevention

    To help reduce your chances of developing acute interstitial nephritis, your doctor may suggest you avoid certain medications such as penicillin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

    National Kidney Foundation

    National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse


    Health Canada

    Kidney Foundation of Canada


    Acute interstitial nephritis. DynaMed website. Available at: Updated November 10, 2010. Accessed July 12, 2013.

    Kodner CM, Kudrimoti A. Diagnosis and management of acute interstitial nephritis. Am Fam Physician. 2003 June 15;67(12):2527-2534. Available at: Accessed July 12, 2013.

    Plakoglannis R, Nogid A: Acute interstitial nephritis associated with coadministration of vancomycin and ceftriaxone: case series and review of the literature. Pharmacotherapy. 2007:27:1456-1461.

    Sierra F, Suzrez M, et al. Systematic review: Proton pump inhibitor-associated acute interstitial nephritis. Aliment Pharmaco Ther. 2007:26:545-553.

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