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Top Ten Drugs That Cause Kidney Damage

We all know doctors prescribe medications, or drugs, for almost every health problem we have. Although they are important for the treatment of many serious diseases, you should be aware that drugs can also cause side effects with different intensity and severity.

They can harm important organs in our body, especially kidneys as every drug you take must pass through this organ. Although the list of medications which damage our kidneys is long, we give you the top ten of them which cause the greatest damage.

1. Analgesics including the anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) ibuprofen, aspirin, naproxen, as well as the alternative to aspirin, acetaminophen, especially if taken with ACE inhibitors, and diuretics.

2. Antibiotics including methicillin, ciprofloxacin, sulfonamides, and vancomycin, as they put extra strain on kidneys in the process of elimination from the body. However, this class of drugs are safe as long as taken in a dose adjusted to the level of your kidneys’ function.

3. Heartburn medication of the proton pump inhibitor group, including: lansoprazole (brand name Prevacid), omeprazole (brand name Prilosec), rabeprazol (brand names Aciphex, Rabecid), pantoprazole (brand name Protonix), esomeprazole (brand names Esotrex, Nexium), as well as Milk of Magnesia.

4. COX-2 inhibitors including Celebrex (celecoxib). Valdecoxib (brand name Bextra) and Rofecoxib (brand name Vioxx) are the two COX-2 inhibitors that have been withdrawn from the market because of cardiovascular toxicity. Although created to be safer for the stomach than other NSAIDs, these drugs pose the same risk for kidney damage.

5. Drugs used in the treatment of high blood pressure, like captopril (brand name Capoten).

6. Antiviral drugs including tenofovir and indinavir used in the treatment of HIV, and acyclovir (brand name Zovirax) for herpes infections.

7. Lithium included in the treatment of bipolar disorder.

8. Drugs used for treating rheumatoid arthritis, including infliximab (brand name Remicade); as well as hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine  which are also used in the treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus and malaria.

9. Anticonvulsants used for treating seizures and other conditions, including trimethadione (brand name Tridione), and phenytoin (brand name Dilantin).

10. Antithyroid drugs including propylthiouracil, and chemo drugs including pamidronate, bevacizumab, interferons, carboplatin, cisplatin, tacrolimus, cyclosporine, mitomycin C, and quinine.

Most people don’t notice they have damaged kidneys until they become very sick. Therefore, it’s recommended you do few simple tests to check the function of your kidneys. They include:

  • Check for infection, blood, or protein in your urine by taking a urine sample.
  • Check the levels of creatinine and blood urea nitrogen (BUN) to see if your kidneys are properly cleaning your blood. You can do this by taking a blood sample.
  • Check your blood pressure.

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