How do NSAIDs cause kidney failure What do you do if you have a headache, fever or muscle pain? It’s possible and without a second thought to go to the pharmacy to buy an over-the-counter pain medication. Pain medications, also called analgesics, help relieve pain, fever, and even inflammation. These medications may help treat arthritis, colds, headaches (including migraines), muscle pain, menstrual cramps, sinusitis, and toothache.
Safe alternatives to pain relievers as recommended by doctors
The effects of medicines on the kidneys, and does excessive use of medicines cause kidney failure?
Painkillers represent 5% of the causes of kidney failure and 15-25% of stomach ulcers, and it has recently been proven in the latest medical studies that painkillers increase the rates of heart attacks.
How do painkillers cause kidney failure?
These medications are effective and usually safe. However, it is important to realize that no drug is completely free from risks.
It must be used carefully. When used incorrectly, pain medications can cause problems in the body, including the kidneys.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, chronic kidney failure in 5% of new cases each year may be caused by the overuse of these painkillers. Once kidney disease has occurred, continued use of the problematic medication will worsen the condition.
Over-the-counter pain medications should not be used without your doctor’s permission if you know you have impaired kidney function.
Also, even if kidney function is good, long-term use in high doses of these pain medications may harm the kidneys.
Kidney damage occurs because high doses of drugs have a detrimental effect on kidney tissues and structures.
These medications can also reduce blood flow to the kidneys. If you are older, your kidneys may have a stronger reaction to these medicines and you may need a smaller dose.
Kidney disease caused by pain medications is often preventable. You can change the risks by how you take the medications.
To avoid kidney problems, it is important to follow the instructions on the label. You should tell your doctor how often you use these medicines and how many pills you take.
You should drink plenty of fluids and avoid becoming dehydrated when using these medicines.
Even with normal kidney function, you should use analgesics:
- Exactly as described.
- at the lowest possible dose.
- for the shortest period of time.
What are analgesics?
Analgesics are medicines that help control pain and reduce fever, and some types also reduce inflammation. These are commonly used analgesics:
- acetaminophen; People who eat too much are at risk for side effects or worse.
- aspirin. A drug grouped together as a “non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug”
- Ibuprofen are NSAIDs. Like other NSAIDs
- Some analgesics contain a combination of analgesic ingredients in one pill
Safe analgesics for the kidneys
After we know how painkillers cause kidney failure, we will now know about safe painkillers
- Acetaminophen is the medication often recommended for occasional use in patients with kidney disease.
- But everyone with kidney disease should rely on their doctor to get what’s right.
- It is important to know that any medicine can be harmful if used in high doses or frequently.
- People with kidney disease should also be sure to avoid drinking alcohol while taking pain medications.
Facts about NSAIDs and serious side effects
Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs with kidney disease
NSAIDs are usually safe for occasional use when taken as directed.
However, if your doctor has told you that you have low kidney function, NSAIDs may not be right for you.
These medicines should only be used under a doctor’s care by patients with kidney disease. Also, they may not be the best choice for people with heart disease, high blood pressure, or liver disease.
Some of these medicines affect blood pressure control. High doses over a long period of time can also lead to chronic kidney disease and even progression to kidney failure.
For people who do not have kidney disease, the recommended dose of aspirin can be safe if you follow your doctor’s instructions.
Taking very large doses of aspirin (6-8 tablets per day) may decrease kidney function. In people with kidney disease, aspirin might increase bleeding.
Early detection of the effect of analgesics on the kidneys
Your doctor can check your kidneys by doing a simple blood test called a serum creatinine test.
The results of a serum creatinine test can be used to estimate the glomerular filtration rate (GFR).
A urine test for the presence of protein may also be done. Persistent protein in the urine may be an early indication of kidney damage.
If I need pain medication, what should I do to keep my kidneys healthy
Kidney disease caused by pain relievers is often preventable. Here are some things you can do to help keep your kidneys healthy.
- Be sure to read the warning label before using any over-the-counter pain relievers.
- Do not use over-the-counter pain relievers for more than 10 days for pain or for more than three days for fever.
- If you feel pain or fever for a longer time, you should see your doctor.
- Avoid using painkillers that contain combination ingredients, such as aspirin, acetaminophen, and caffeine mixed together in one pill.
- If you take pain medication, increase the amount of fluid you drink to six to eight glasses a day.
- If you are taking pain medication, avoid drinking alcohol.
- If you have kidney disease, ask your doctor before taking pain relievers, especially NSAIDs and a higher dose of aspirin.
- If you have high blood pressure or heart disease, make sure you only take NSAIDs under your doctor’s supervision. This is especially important if you are taking diuretics or are over 65 years of age.
- Make sure your doctor knows all the medicines you take, even over-the-counter medicines.
Additional safety tips:
- If you have pain medications in your home, make sure children don’t have access to them.
- To avoid dangerous interactions with prescribed medications, consult your doctor before using a painkiller, if you take other medications on a regular basis.
- Throw away any unused pain medication after the expiration date.