Misdiagnosis of Medication Causes of Kidney failure


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About medication causes: Another misdiagnosis possibility is that a particular medication or substance may be the real cause of the disease. Certain medications, chemicals, toxins or substances may possibly be underlying causes of Kidney failure. Side effects of medications, or exposure to toxins, chemicals, or other substances may cause a symptom or condition. Hence, they become possible underlying causes of Kidney failure but are often misdiagnosed or overlooked as a cause. For a general overview of this misdiagnosis issue, see Medication Underlying Cause Misdiagnosis.

Medication causes: Case reports have attributed incidents of acute kidney failure to the use of painkillers, including aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. The patients in these reports had risk factors such as systemic lupus erythematosus, advanced age, chronic renal conditions, or a recent binge of alcohol consumption. These cases involved a single dose in some instances and never more than 10 days of analgesic use. Acute kidney failure requires emergency dialysis to clean the blood. But normal kidney function often returns after the emergency is over.

A different kind of problem can result from taking painkillers every day for several years. Analgesic nephropathy is a chronic kidney disease that gradually leads to end-stage renal disease and the permanent need for dialysis or a kidney transplant to restore renal function.

The painkillers that combine two or more analgesics (for example, aspirin and acetaminophen together) with caffeine or codeine are most likely to damage the kidneys. These mixtures are often sold as powders. Single analgesics (e.g., aspirin alone) have not been found to cause kidney damage.

Patients with conditions that put them at risk for acute kidney failure should check with their doctors before taking any medicine. People who take painkillers on a regular basis should check with their doctors to make sure they are not hurting their kidneys. The doctor may be able to recommend a safer alternative. 1

Footnotes:
1. excerpt from Analgesic Nephropathy (Painkillers and the Kidneys): NIDDK

Last revision: May 30, 2003

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