An analgesic is any medicine intended to alleviate pain. Over-the-counter ( OTC) analgesics, among others, include the following:
Taking one, or a combination of, these drugs regularly over a long period of time may increase the risk of kidney problems.
Analgesic nephropathy is a chronic kidney disease that gradually leads to end-stage renal disease and the need for permanent dialysis or a kidney transplant to restore renal function. It can result from taking painkillers every day for several years. And, the painkillers that combine two or more analgesics (for example, aspirin and acetaminophen together) with caffeine or codeine are the most likely to damage the kidneys.
People who take any painkillers on a regular basis should consult their doctors to make sure they are not causing damage to their kidneys.
In addition, patients with conditions that put them at risk for acute kidney failure should consult their doctors before taking any medications (over-the-counter or prescription).
The following are the most common symptoms of analgesic nephropathy. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
Some patients experience no symptoms and kidney damage is picked up by routine blood tests. The symptoms of analgesic nephropathy may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.
In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for analgesic nephropathy may include the following:
Specific treatment for analgesic nephropathy will be determined by your doctor based on:
Treatment may include:
Treatment focuses on preventing any further kidney damage, and treatment of any existing kidney failure.
Some reports have attributed incidents of acute kidney failure to the use of painkillers, including aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. Many of the patients in these reports had risk factors, such as the following:
Consult your doctor for more information about diagnosis and treatment of analgesic nephropathy and acute kidney failure.
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Online Resources of Kidney and Urinary Disorders