Renal disease patients have to take many drugs to alleviate symptoms and make them more comfortable such as painkillers to sooth pain, diuretics to alleviate swelling, antibiotics to treat infections and inflammations, antihypertensive agents to lower high blood pressure, hormones, immunosuppressants as well as many other drugs.
The side effects and complications of hormones and immunosuppressants are well known, but patients may not have full knowledge of renal toxicities of certain drugs. Some drugs can cause or worsen high creatinine levels and some can even cause kidney failure. Some are prescribed to treat kidney disease, some are used for other illness conditions. Though they have obvious and quick effects on alleviating symptoms, long term intake of these drugs is very harmful to the kidneys, therefore some drugs should be contraindicated or at least should not be taken as long-term remedy.
The following is a drug list that renal disease patients should avoid or at least know their potential damages to the kidneys.
1. Antibiotics. Nearly all antibiotics have mild to severe damages to patients with advanced kidney problems such as penicillin, cephalosporins, nitrofurantoin, vancomycin, ciprofloxacin, methicillin, sulfonamides, etc.
2. Antiviral drugs. Drugs that are used to treat HIV like indinavir and tenofovir and other drugs that are used to treat virus infections such as acyclovir can damage the kidneys.
3. Painkillers. Over-the-counter painkillers and analgesics such as acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen and other NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).
4. Capoten. It is one kind antihypertensive drug.
5. Diuretics. There are different types of diuretics and misuse or overuse of some diuretics can cause electrolyte imbalances and worsen renal damages.
6. Hormones and immunosuppressants. Prednisone, cyclosporine are commonly prescribed drugs to renal disease patients. It is recommended that prednisone is not prescribed until protein level in urine is very high because prednisone has many side effects. Cyclosporine is an immunosuppressant to treat proteinuria and as a drug after kidney transplant, but it has potential damages to the kidneys and can cause increased urine protein or elevated creatinine level.
7. Chemotherapy drugs. Chemotherapy drugs are used to treat cancers. But strong chemotherapy drugs can cause renal damages to those that have no kidney disease before. These drugs include interferons, pamidronate, cisplatin, carboplatin, mitomycin, methotrexate, quinine, anti-thyroid drugs, etc.
8. Anticonvulsants. Renal disease patients often have seizure and anticonvulsants will be prescribed if the seizure is too serious. Some of these drugs such as phenytoin, trimethadione can damage the kidneys.
Therefore it is very necessary and important to consult the doctor about the potential harms to the kidneys because it usually takes relatively long time to treat kidney disease and patients have to have these prescribed drugs for long time. There are other drug substitutions if it is found to be toxic to your kidneys.
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