Levamisole causes a transient increase in plasma creatinine levels but does not affect kidney function based on cystatin C

Floor Veltkamp, Arend Bökenkamp, Jeroen Slaats, Henrike Hamer, Antonia H. M. Bouts*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: In pediatric patients treated with levamisole to prevent relapses of idiopathic nephrotic syndrome (INS), a transient and non-progressive rise in creatinine levels has been observed. It has been suggested that levamisole affects tubular secretion of creatinine. However, other potential mechanisms — nephrotoxicity and interference with the analytical assay for creatinine — have never been thoroughly investigated. Methods: In three steroid-sensitive nephrotic syndrome (SSNS) patients with elevated plasma creatinine levels, treated with levamisole 2.5 mg/kg every other day, serum cystatin C was determined. The glomerular filtration rate (GFR) was estimated using the full age spectrum for creatinine and the full age spectrum for cystatin C equations. Interference of levamisole with the enzymatic creatinine assay was tested using spare human plasma of different creatinine concentrations spiked with levamisole (4, 20, and 100 µM). Results: Three patients who received levamisole with elevated plasma creatinine levels had normal serum cystatin C levels and corresponding estimated GFR. There was no assay interference. Conclusion: Levamisole increases plasma creatinine levels, which is most probably due to impaired tubular secretion of creatinine since there was no assay interference and patients had normal eGFR based on serum cystatin C. However, interference of metabolites of levamisole could not be excluded. To monitor GFR, cystatin C in addition to creatinine should be used and be measured before and during levamisole use.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPediatric Nephrology
Early online date2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2022

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