DOI 10.5414/CNP63385

Clinical Nephrology, Volume 63 (2005) - May (385 - 389)

COX-2 inhibitors and acute interstitial nephritis: case report and review of the literature

J.-B. Esteve, V. Launay-Vacher, I. Brocheriou, A. Grimaldi, H. Izzedine
1 Department of Medicine, 2 Division of Nephrology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada


We report a case of biopsy-proven acute interstitial nephritis (AIN) in a 50-year-old diabetic woman, who had been treated with celecoxib for 4 weeks before presentation. She presented with clinical findings of renal proximal tubulopathy, aseptic leukocyturia and acute renal failure. A kidney biopsy specimen showed AIN with intense tubuli and eosinophilic infiltrate in the interstitium. She recovered normal renal function two weeks after cessation of celecoxib and use of a corticosteroid. A review of the literature yielded eight cases of COX-2 inhibitor-associated AIN with a biopsy-proven diagnosis. Among the reported cases, AIN was diagnosed after an average of 8.3 months of therapy (SD 12 months, range 3 days – 3 years) with 25 mg rofecoxib or 200 mg celecoxib daily. Common symptoms included asthenia, anorexia, nausea and vomiting. The classic triad of fever, rash and eosinophilia was uncommon. Typical laboratory features included hematuria, proteinuria, eosinophilia. Renal failure was common at the time of diagnosis. Mean serum creatinine levels were 0.86 ± 0.11 mg/dl, 5.66 ± 3.50 mg/dl and 1.15 ± 0.24 before treatment, at time of diagnosis and 1 – 2 months after COX-2 inhibitor withdrawal, respectively. Three patients required emergency hemodialysis. After cessation of COX-2 inhibitor treatment, patients recovered completely with a normalized serum creatinine level after one to two months. Management consisted of withdrawal of the COX-2 inhibitor drug and in four patients, corticosteroid therapy was well-tolerated and may have been beneficial.

Author Details


  • J.-B. Esteve
  • V. Launay-Vacher
  • I. Brocheriou
  • A. Grimaldi
  • H. Izzedine


  • 1 Department of Medicine,
  • 2 Division of Nephrology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

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