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October 1964

Kanamycin Ototoxicity in Healthy Men

Author Affiliations


Arch Otolaryngol. 1964;80(4):413-417. doi:10.1001/archotol.1964.00750040425010

Kanamycin was discovered by Umezawa in the course of a systematic screening of organisms that produced antibiotics effective against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria including tubercle bacilli. He had hoped to find one that would not exhibit the delayed toxicity that characterizes other such antibiotics.1-3 Kanamycin was originally obtained as the amorphous hydrochloride and sulfate and as the crystalline monosulfate. It is a deoxystreptamine glycosidically linked to hexosamines4 and, in this respect, is chemically similar to neomycin. Initial pharmacologic studies indicated that kanamycin was less ototoxic than an equivalent dosage of dihydrostreptomycin in experimental animals but, as experience accumulated in its clinical use, it became obvious that this drug could be severely ototoxic in humans.5-12 Toxicity was reported most frequently when patients with impaired renal function received a high daily dosage. Several cases have been reported in which the onset of hearing loss in patients with renal disease

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