Pharmacological treatment of ceftriaxone-related cholelithiasis in children: is it worthwhile?

Anna Maria Oggiano, Maria Grazia Clemente, Laura Cuzzolin, Cristian Locci, Claudia Maria Piredda, Kathleen B. Schwarz, Roberto Antonucci


Ceftriaxone treatment of bacterial infections can be associated with biliary complications, more commonly in children than adults, in a dose-dependent manner. This study describes a clinical case series of children with ceftriaxone-related cholelithiasis.
We performed a retrospective analysis of cases of ceftriaxone-related biliary complications admitted to the Pediatric Clinic, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Sassari, Italy, during the period 2005-2015.
Four children with cholelithiasis occurring during, or soon after, the treatment with ceftriaxone are reported. Case 1 (6-month-old), case 2 (9-year-old) and case 4 (10-year-old) were symptomatic, while case 3 (3-year-old) was asymptomatic. After the ultrasonographic diagnosis of gallstones (cases 1 and 2) or biliary sludge (cases 3 and 4), ceftriaxone treatment was withdrawn, and ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) was started in cases 1 and 2. A complete recovery was observed in all but case 1, in whom cholelithiasis was still detectable at one-year follow-up by ultrasonography. This case underwent a triple antibiotic protocol for bacterial meningitis. The protocol included rifampicin, which is known to have an effect in decreasing hepatic concentration of bile salts. Therefore, in this case, both rifampicin and UDCA were of no benefit in preventing or treating ceftriaxone biliary complications.
The current pharmacological approach for the treatment of ceftriaxone-related cholelithiasis seems to be ineffective, likely due to the high calcium content of gallstones. Therefore, the best strategy of intervention for ceftriaxone biliary complications in children remains the prevention of the risk factors.


biliary sludge; children; gallstones; pseudocholelithiasis; rifampicin; ursodeoxycholic acid

Full Text: PDF Number of abstract views: 1341 Number of PDF views/downloads: 2538


N.B. All JPNIM articles are accessible in Open Access. You can access the page containing the full PDF article just by clicking on the “Full Text: PDF” link at the bottom of the abstract page. On the full article page, if the article doesn’t load properly in the PDF view window, please wait a few seconds or click on the “Download this PDF file” link.

Technical advice. If you are using Firefox and you are experiencing problems, please set the browser preferences as follows: Firefox > Preferences > Advanced > General > Accessibility > deselect "Warn me when web sites try to redirect or reload the page".

Privacy Policy. English text: Privacy Policy; Italian text: Privacy Policy.

Cookie Policy. English text: Cookie Policy; Italian text: Cookie Policy.