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Isabelle Goyer
Massimiliano Iseppon
Céline Thibault
Rachid Abaji
Maja Krajinovic
Julie Autmizguine


cystic fibrosis, multi-resistant bacterial infection, lactic acidosis, mitochondria, chloramphenicol


Children with cystic fibrosis are commonly colonized with multi-resistant bacteria. In such patients, infectious exacerbation may require salvage therapy with uncommonly used antimicrobials, including chloramphenicol. Chloramphenicol is rarely used nowadays because of the associated severe adverse events. We describe the case of a 15-year-old female with terminal cystic fibrosis who required intravenous (IV) chloramphenicol treatment for a Burkholderia cepacia ( B. cepacia ) exacerbation. The child subsequently developed lactic acidosis and secondary respiratory compensation adding to her baseline respiratory distress. Based on the Naranjo scale, the probability of chloramphenicol being the cause of the hyperlactatemia and associated respiratory distress was rated as probable, as the adverse effects resolved upon discontinuation of the drug. Subsequent genotyping for mitochondrial polymorphism (G3010A) confirmed a possible susceptibility to lactic acidosis from mitochondrial RNA-inhibiting agents such as chloramphenicol. Hyperlac - tatemia is a rare but life threatening adverse effect that has been previously reported with chloramphenicol exposure, but is not generally thought of. Clinicians should be aware of this potentially life threatening, but reversible adverse event. Lactate should be monitored under chloramphenicol and it should be discontinued as soon as this complication is suspected, especially in patients with low respiratory reserve.

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