1. The effects of two non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, ibuprofen (20 mg day−1 kg−1) and diclofenac sodium (2.5 mg day−1 kg−1), on the severity of gentamicin-induced nephrotoxicity were evaluated in rats.

2. Administration of gentamicin (100 mg day−1 kg−1) for 5 days resulted in a significant increase in renal cortical total phospholipids accompanied by a significant decrease in cortical Na+, K+-ATPase activity. These changes were associated with a significant decrease in body weight and increases in kidney weight, serum creatinine and urea nitrogen.

3. In rats treated simultaneously with both gentamicin and either ibuprofen or diclofenac sodium for 5 days, all the measured parameters of renal dysfunction were similar in magnitude to those observed in rats treated with gentamicin alone.

4. In contrast, rats treated with either ibuprofen or diclofenac sodium for 27 days and injected concurrently with gentamicin during the last 5 days of the treatment period had significantly higher kidney weight, lower renal cortical Na+, K+-ATPase activity and higher cortical phospholipid content, serum creatinine and urea nitrogen than did rats treated with gentamicin alone. A 27-day treatment with ibuprofen or diclofenac sodium alone resulted in no change in renal function.

5. These results demonstrate that gentamicin nephrotoxicity was potentiated after the long (27 days) but not after the short (5 days) period of treatment with ibuprofen and diclofenac sodium. Thus, prolonged administration of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs should be considered as a risk factor that may increase the nephrotoxic potential of gentamicin.

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