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Can Pain Medication Cause Kidney Problems

Plan Ahead To Manage Pain Flu Or Other Illness

What can cause kidney damage?

Almost everyone gets sick once in a while. Your doctor or pharmacist can help you plan ahead to keep your kidneys safe until you get well. Prepare in advance so you know what to do if you have pain or a fever, diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting, which can lead to dehydration.

Before you get sick, ask your health care provider or pharmacist the following questions

  • If I get sick, are there medicines I should not take while Im sick?
  • If I need to stop medicines when Im sick, when can I restart them?
  • What can I take or do to relieve a headache or other pain?
  • What can I take to relieve a fever?
  • If I have diarrhea or am vomiting, do I need to change how or when I take my blood pressure medicine?

What Can I Do To Keep My Kidneys Healthy

Kidney disease caused by analgesics is often preventable Here are some things you can do to help keep your kidneys healthy.

  • Do not use over-the-counter pain relievers more than 10 days for pain or more than three days for fever. If you have pain or fever for a longer time, you should see your doctor
  • Avoid prolonged use of analgesics that contain a mixture of painkilling ingredients, like aspirin, acetaminophen and caffeine mixtures in one pill
  • If you are taking analgesics, increase the amount of fluid you drink to six to eight glasses a day
  • If you are taking analgesics, avoid drinking alcohol
  • If you have kidney disease, consult your doctor before taking an analgesic, particularly NSAIDs and higher dose aspirin.
  • Use NSAIDs under your doctor’s supervision if you have heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease or liver disease or if you take diuretic medications or are over 65 years of age
  • Make sure your doctor knows about all medicines you are taking, even over-the-counter medicines
  • Make sure you read the warning label before using any over-the-counter analgesics.

Athlete Experiencing Arthritis Pain

Uric acid is a substance that is created when chemical compounds found in food, known as purines, break down and are dissolved into the blood.1 It is produced as a byproduct of protein digestion and typically excreted by the kidneys through urine.

But if the body produces too much uric acid or the kidneys dont eliminate enough of it, severe joint conditions may result.

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Which Medication Is Most Likely To Cause Nephrotoxicity

Multiple medication classes can cause drug-induced kidney disease. Some of them are described below. This article aims to familiarize you with different nephrotoxic drug classes. Though different drug classes can cause specific types of kidney injury, do not get overwhelmed with the medical terminology. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have more questions about the different types of kidney injury.

Pain Relievers

Pain medications such as acetaminophen and aspirin can cause chronic interstitial nephritis. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen sodium are some of the most common culprits in causing drug-induced nephrotoxicity. NSAIDs can lead to acute interstitial nephritis, chronic interstitial nephritis, and glomerulonephritis. Long-term use of these medications can lead to chronic kidney disease.

Antidepressants and Mood Stabilizers

Certain antidepressants like fluoxetine , amitriptyline , and doxepin can cause rhabdomyolysis, leading to acute kidney injury. The mood stabilizer lithium used to treat bipolar disorder can also cause rhabdomyolysis, then kidney injury–specifically chronic interstitial nephritis and glomerulonephritis.

Antihistamines

How Ra Affects Your Kidneys

Overuse of painkillers can cause kidney failure: Doctor

Inflammation due to RA has long been thought to affect kidney function. Inflammation is the bodys way of protecting itself when theres something wrong, like illness or injury. The inflammation helps to heal injured or diseased tissue. But over time, chronic inflammation takes its toll on the whole body, causing stress and damaging or destroying cells and tissues.

Research indicates that those with RA are more likely to have kidney disease. As many as one in four people develop reduced kidney function over the long term. Newer studies show that a combination of risk factors, along with RA, may be to blame. A recent study by the Mayo Clinic lists several factors that can contribute to kidney disease in patients with RA. These include:

  • higher levels of inflammation within the first year of diagnosis
  • use of corticosteroid medications, like prednisone or cortisone
  • chronic use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications

While RA may not necessarily cause kidney disease, kidney problems are more likely to develop if other conditions are also making the kidneys work harder.

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The 10 Worst Medications For Your Kidneys

Medications that can damage the kidneys are known as nephrotoxic medications. These drugs can cause direct damage to the kidneys. Some of these medications mildly worsen kidney function and others can cause acute kidney injuries. The risk for kidney damage depends on your individual health and other medications you are taking. For people with even mild kidney failure, you might want to talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of these medications.

How Is Analgesic Nephropathy Diagnosed

Your healthcare provider will review your medical history and do a physical exam. Other tests may include:

  • Blood pressure checks
  • Urine toxicology screen. This test measures the amount of the pain killer in the urine.
  • Urinalysis. Exam of urine for certain types of cells and chemicals, such as red and white blood cells, infection, or too much protein.
  • Complete blood count. This test measures the size, number, and maturity of blood cells.
  • Exam of any tissue passed in the urine
  • Intravenous pyelogram. A series of X-rays of the kidney, ureters, and bladder. It uses an injection of a contrast dye. This helps find tumors, abnormalities, kidney stones, or any blockages. This test also checks blood flow to the kidney.

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What Should You Do

  • Do not take any medicine, drug or substance unless you are under a healthcare provider’s supervision.
  • Do not take pills or substances given to you by a stranger or even a friend.
  • If you do take a medication or other substance and feel ill, contact your healthcare provider immediately.
  • If you need to have an imaging test or colonoscopy, let your healthcare provider know if you have kidney disease or are at risk for getting it.

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Is Aspirin Safe For Regular Use

Can Covid-19 Medicines Cause Kidney Failure Or Infection?

When taken as directed, regular use of aspirin does not seem to increase the risk of kidney disease in people who have normal kidney function. However, taking doses that are too large may temporarily- and possibly permanently- reduce kidney function. In people with kidney disease, aspirin may increase the tendency to bleed. People who already have reduced kidney function, or other health problems such as liver disease or severe heart failure, should not use aspirin without speaking to their doctor.

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Hiv Medications And Antiviral Drugs

Certain antiviral HIV medications are linked to long-term kidney damage and can increase your risk for kidney disease. Viread and Reyataz have both been shown to cause AKI.

Antivirals such as acyclovir and Valtrex , may lead to kidney swelling and inflammation and can also produce crystals deposits that can lead to obstruction of the ureters.

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation

A TENS unit can be used to stimulate nerves through the skin and block pain. Sometimes medicine can be given through the skin using the electrode pads. It can be helpful for chronic pain and for nerve pain in some people. If you have a pacemaker, using TENS may not be wise. Talk to your care team to learn whether TENS might help your pain.

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If You Have Kidney Disease Other Medications Can Be Harmful

If your kidneys are already damaged, certain drugs can make them worse or lead to kidney failure. Talk to your doctor before taking cholesterol or diabetes medication, antacid medicine for an upset stomach, or antimicrobial meds, like antifungal and antiviral drugs. In some cases, you may be able to take a smaller dose that’s safer for you.

You also should talk to your doctor before having some kinds of imaging tests. With a magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography scan, doctors sometimes use a dye to help them see a specific area of your body better. In rare cases, this dye can cause serious conditions called contrast-induced nephropathy or nephrogenic systemic fibrosis . Ask your doctor about other tests you might have instead.

Show Sources

National Kidney Foundation: “Contrast Dye and the Kidneys,” “How Your Kidneys Work,” “Oral Sodium Phosphate Safety Alerts,” “Pain Medicines ,” “Watch out for Your Kidneys When You Use Medicines for Pain,” “Which Drugs are Harmful to Your Kidneys?”

MedShadow: “6 Medications That Can Harm the Kidneys.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Supplements, OTCs May Hurt Your Kidneys.”

Biofeedback May Help You Control Pain

Pain Meds: How They Work and Safe Alternatives

You may be able to learn how to control the process that leads to your painso you have less pain. How? Through biofeedback.

First, you learn to be aware of what is going on in your body that leads to the pain. This can be done by using sensors to measure your heart rate, breathing rate, and skin temperature. You will get feedback in your patterns through a noise or a computer screen. Then, you can learn to change the patterns by watching the feedback. In time, you will be able to change your patterns without needing the feedback.

Biofeedback may help chronic pain, headaches, low back pain, anxiety, and many other problems. Talk with your VA care team if you think biofeedback might be helpful for you.

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Tips To Prevent The Risk Of Kidney Damage From Medications

  • When taking OTC drugs, pay careful attention to labels and take the medication exactly as directed.
  • When possible, avoid taking medicines like NSAIDs over long periods of time and only under the guidance of your healthcare provider.
  • Make sure youre not taking medications more often or at a stronger dose than needed, as this is a common cause of toxicity.
  • Drink adequate fluid to flush out the toxins. Dehydration is a known factor for kidney failure, as it can cause the medication to become too concentrated and to stay in the system too long.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol, as it can lead to dehydration, increased blood pressure, and liver disease, placing you at greater risk of kidney dysfunction.
  • Have all your medications dispensed at the one pharmacy so your pharmacist can monitor your medications and check for harmful interactions between your medications.

The Effect Of Painkillers

Some opioid painkillers, such as Vicodin and Percocet, contain acetaminophen, commonly marketed as Tylenol.

Long-term use of acetaminophen-containing prescription painkillers or acetaminophen alone can cause two types of kidney damage 20:

  • Analgesic nephropathy: a condition that progresses to irreversible renal failure 21.
  • Chronic kidney failure.

In the case of analgesic nephropathy, a person will likely require a kidney transplant or dialysis to return to normal renal functioning 21.

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What If I Have More Questions

If you have other questions, you should speak to your doctor or dietitian. The dietitian can help you with a meal plan that will provide enough calories to help you gain weight or keep from losing weight.

If you would like more information, please contact us.

COVID-19 patients can become kidney patients.

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Can Analgesics Hurt Kidneys

Kidney (Renal) Disease Signs & Symptoms (ex. Peripheral Edema, Fatigue, Itchiness)

Check with your doctor to be sure you can use these medicines safely, particularly if you have kidney disease. Heavy or long-term use of some of these medicines, such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and higher dose aspirin, can cause chronic kidney disease known as chronic interstitial nephritis. The warning labels on over-the-counter analgesics tell you not to use these medicines for more than l0 days for pain and more than three days for fever. If you have pain and/or fever for a longer time, you should see your doctor. The doctor can check for possible medical problems and advise you about what medications you should take.

If you have decreased kidney function, painkillers called NSAIDs and higher dose aspirin are not recommended. Even with normal kidney function, you should use analgesics:

  • Exactly as prescribed or as on the label
  • At the lowest dose possible
  • For the shortest period of time

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Do I Need More Calories Now That I Have Kidney Disease

You may need to increase your calories each day for the following reasons:

  • A diet for chronic kidney disease limits foods from some food groups. You may eat fewer calories because you have to omit these foods.
  • Some days you may not feel like eating your usual meals. This can gradually lead to weight loss.
  • You may be underweight or have lost weight recently because of your kidney disease.
  • Your body needs more calories if you are on dialysis.

Causes Of Gout In Your Shoulder

An excess of uric acid in your bloodstream is thought to trigger gout by forming needle-shaped crystals that build up in your tissues and joints. Excess uric acid is technically known as hyperuricemia.

Uric acid is a waste product produced by the breakdown of purines, chemical compounds naturally present in your body. Uric acid is also produced when you digest foods containing purines.

Normally your kidneys remove uric acid waste via your urine. If your kidneys arent functioning properly, uric acid levels can build up in your bloodstream.

The crystals that form from this excess uric acid are attacked by your immune system as foreign bodies. Infection-fighting cells go to the area of the crystals, causing inflammation.

A of gout reports that only 10 percent of cases are caused by your bodys increased production of uric acid. The other 90 percent are caused by the failure of the kidneys to eliminate enough uric acid.

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If I Need Pain Medicines What Can 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.

How you take these medicines makes a difference:

  • Make sure you read the warning label before using any overthecounter analgesics.
  • Do not use overthecounter pain relievers more than 10 days for pain or more than three days for fever. If you have pain or fever for a longer time, you should see your doctor.
  • Avoid using pain medicines that contain a combination of ingredients, like aspirin, acetaminophen and caffeine mixed together in one pill.
  • If you are taking pain medicines, increase the amount of fluid you drink to six to eight glasses a day.
  • If you are taking pain medicines, avoid drinking alcohol.

Talking with your doctor about pain medicines can also make a difference:

  • If you have kidney disease, ask your doctor before taking a pain medicine, particularly NSAIDs and higher dose aspirin.
  • If you have high blood pressure or heart disease, make sure you only take NSAIDs under your doctors supervision. This is especially important if you take diuretic medications or are over 65 years of age.
  • Make sure your doctor knows about all medicines you are taking, even over-the-counter medicines.

Are There Tests To Diagnose The Cause Of Kidney Pain

Pain Medicines (Analgesics)

If you experience kidney pain, your healthcare provider typically will order lab tests to check for abnormalities in your blood or urine. Imaging tests will also be used to visualize the kidneys indirectly.

Other specialist procedures may directly visualize the kidneys or obtain tissue samples via a biopsy if cancer is suspected.

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What Are The Complications Of Analgesic Nephropathy

Some cases of acute kidney failure have been linked to the use of painkillers, including aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. Many of these people had risk factors, such as:

  • Lupus
  • Chronic kidney conditions
  • Recent binge-drinking alcohol

Talk with your healthcare provider for more information about diagnosis and treatment of analgesic nephropathy and kidney failure.

Kidney Damage Caused By Painkillers

As previously stated, the kidneys function as a sophisticated waste removal system for the blood flowing through your veins.

When this system is disrupted or neglected for an extended amount of time, the negative effects on the body as a whole can range from minor physical complications to total system failure. In particular, acute kidney failure and kidney disease can cause an individual to lose the ability to remove harmful products from their bloodstream, resulting in the following symptoms:

  • Severe chest pain
  • Fluid buildup within the lungs
  • Extensive muscle weakness
  • Permanent kidney damage
  • Death

The important thing to recognize with painkiller addiction is that the damage to the kidneys can be reversible if addressed on time.

If you are abusing painkillers and experiencing any of the previously stated symptoms, it is imperative that you contact a physician immediately to discuss the issue.

For an in-depth breakdown of how prescription painkillers affect the mind and body, read our posts on opioid addiction and the mind and opioid addiction and the body.

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What To Do If You Have Heart Problems Or Kidney Disease

When people have pain, they often take pain medicines called NSAIDs . These include:

  • Advil and Motrin . Ibuprofen is also in other over-the-counter drugs, such as cold medicines.
  • Aleve .
  • Celebrex .

NSAIDs help ease pain and inflammation. But if you have high blood pressure, heart failure, or kidney disease, you should not take an NSAID. And you should not take any drugs that have ibuprofen or another NSAID in them. Heres why:

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