The Relative Risk of Achilles Tendon Injury in Patients Taking Quinolones

Daniel C. Jupiter, Xiao Fang, Zachary Ashmore, Naohiro Shibuya, Hemalkumar B. Mehta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine the association between quinolone use and Achilles tendon injury, comparing well-matched cohorts of users of quinolone and nonquinolone antibiotics, and well-matched cohorts of quinolone users and patients not using any nonquinolone antibiotics. Patients and Methods: This retrospective cohort study used Clinformatics data from 2008–2014. Using the propensity score, we matched quinolone users with other antibiotic users and quinolone users with nonusers. The primary outcome was Achilles tendon injury within 6 months. Bivariate analyses determined risk factors for Achilles tendon injury, and conditional logistic regression assessed the impact of quinolone use on these injuries. Results: A total of 716,522 fluoroquinolone users were matched with other antibiotic users, and 645,034 fluoroquinolone users were matched with nonusers. Rates of Achilles tendon injury were less than 0.5% in all groups. Quinolone use increased the risk of Achilles tendon injury compared with other antibiotic users (odds ratio [OR] 1.24, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.17–1.31) and nonusers (OR 1.54, 95% CI 1.44–1.64). Interaction with age did not significantly impact the relationship between quinolone use and Achilles injury; however, older quinolone users had a slightly higher relative risk of injury than nonusers versus younger patients. Furthermore, the youngest group of patients had similarly elevated relative risk for injury with quinolone use as did the elderly. Conclusion: Although quinolone use increases the risk of Achilles tendon injury, the absolute risk increase is minimal, especially when compared with similar morbidity patients taking other nonquinolone antibiotics. In relatively healthy populations, such as the one studied here, quinolone use may not make a clinically significant contribution to risk of Achilles tendon injury, at any age range, among those in need of such drugs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)878-887
Number of pages10
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2018


  • Achilles tendon injury
  • adverse events
  • propensity score
  • quinolones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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