by McCoy K


Acute interstitial nephritis (AIN) happens when the small tubes inside the kidneys become inflamed. This makes it hard for the kidneys to filter waste and extra fluid from the body.

Anatomy of the Kidney
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AIN may be caused by:

  • Some medicines, such as antibiotics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), stomach acid reducers, and diuretics
  • Autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Infections, such as strep, Hepatitis C, and HIV

Risk Factors

This problem is more common in older adults. Other things that may raise the risk are:

  • Take certain medicines
  • Having an infection


Problems may be:

  • Passing less urine (pee) than usual
  • Lack of hunger
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain in the side
  • Joint pain
  • Low fever
  • Rash
  • Blood in the urine (rare)


The doctor will ask about symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. Blood and urine tests will be done to check kidney function.

The diagnosis can be confirmed with a kidney biopsy.


The goal of treatment is to ease inflammation and improve kidney function. How this is done will depend on the cause.

Any medicines causing AIN will be stopped or changed. Other medicines may also be given, such as:

  • Antibiotics to treat infection
  • Pain relivers and fever reducers
  • Corticosteroids to ease inflammation

People who are not helped by these methods may need dialysis. This is a machine that takes over the work of the kidneys by filtering blood.


This risk of this problem may be lowered by avoiding medicines that may harm the kidneys. They should only be taken when advised by a doctor.


National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases 

National Kidney Foundation 


Health Canada 

The Kidney Foundation of Canada 


Acute interstitial nephritis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed April 21, 2022.

Tubulointerstitial nephritis. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: Accessed April 21, 2022.

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