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Kidney Disease: Medicines to Avoid

Topic Overview

Many medicines may impair kidney function and cause kidney damage. If you have chronic kidney disease, your doctor may advise you to continue to take a medicine but may change how much you take to protect you from kidney damage.

It is important to talk to your doctor about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal products that you take. Some examples of common medicines that can cause problems include:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as:
    • Aspirin (for example, Excedrin).
    • Celecoxib (Celebrex).
    • Ibuprofen (for example, Advil).
    • Naproxen (for example, Aleve).
  • Acetaminophen (such as Tylenol), which may be harmful if it is overused.
  • Herbal products. Chinese herbs used for weight loss have caused kidney disease in some people. Avoid products that have aristolochic acid in the ingredient list.
  • High blood pressure medicines, such as:
    • ACE inhibitors (for example, ramipril, captopril, and enalapril).
    • Angiotensin II receptor blockers (such as candesartan, losartan, telmisartan, and valsartan).
    • Hydralazine.
  • Diuretics, such as:
    • Chlorothiazide.
    • Furosemide.
    • Hydrochlorothiazide.
  • Antibiotics, such as:
    • Cephalosporins.
    • Penicillins.
    • Sulfa drugs.
  • Medicines used to treat cancer, such as:
    • Cisplatin.
    • Ifosfamide.
    • Mitomycin.

Don't stop taking any prescription medicines without talking to your doctor first.


By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Mitchell H. Rosner, MD - Nephrology
Last Revised September 15, 2011

Last Revised: September 15, 2011

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