Your kidneys are essentially your blood’s filtration system. This means that any toxins that are in your blood eventually finds their way into your kidneys, where they are later transformed and expelled through urine. All of your blood is filtered by these organs multiple times a day (1).
Both are located on your back, along your spine, and are each about the size of a fist. Kidney disease and failure are so hard to detect, in fact, that it’s possible to lose up to 90% of kidney function without experiencing any symptoms or problems, according to WebMD.
Drug-Induced Kidney Damage
Drugs are one of the most common causes of kidney damage. Over the last 30 years, instances of drug-induced acute kidney injury have been on the rise (2).
According to a 2008 review published in American Family Physician: “Drugs cause approximately 20 percent of community-and hospital-acquired episodes of acute renal failure. Among older adults, the incidence of drug-induced nephrotoxicity may be as high as 66 percent.”
In part, drugs can cause kidney inflammation, which can lead to fibrosis and renal scarring, and thus, kidney failure.
Nephrotoxic Drugs That Cause Kidney Damage
If you already have kidney problems, these drugs can be deadly even in small doses. And so, make sure to only take medication prescribed by your healthcare provider and respect the recommended dose.
Including: ciprofloxacin, methicillin, vancomycin, aminoglycosides, cephalosporins, amphotericin B, bacitracin, and sulfonamides.
Including: acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, and other prescription and non-prescription painkillers.
3. COX-2 Inhibitors
Including: celecoxib (Celebrex), rofecoxib (Vioxx), and valdecoxib (Bextra).
4. Heartburn Drugs
Including: proton pump inhibitors like omeprazole (Prilosec), lansoprazole (Prevacid), pantoprazole (Protonix), rabeprazole (Rabecid, Aciphex), and esomeprazole (Nexium, Esotrex).
5. Antiviral Drugs
Including: acyclovir (Zovirax), used to treat herpes infection, and indinavir, ritonavir, and tenofovir, all used to treat HIV.
6. High Blood Pressure Drugs
Including: captopril (Capoten), lisinopril, ramipril, and angiotensin receptor blockers like candesartan and valsartan.
7. Rheumatoid Arthritis Drugs
Including: infliximab (Remicade), chloroquine, and hydroxychloroquine, which are used to treat malaria and systemic lupus erythematosus as well as rheumatoid arthritis.
8. Bipolar Disorder Drugs
Including: phenytoin (Dilantin) and trimethadione (Tridione).
10. Chemotherapy Drugs
Including: interferons, pamidronate, cisplatin, carboplatin, cyclosporine, tacrolimus, quinine, mitomycin C, bevacizumab, cisplatin, carboplatin, and methotrexate.
11. Osteoporosis And Hypercalcemia Medication
Including: Zoledronic acid including Reclast, and Zometa.
12. Prescription And Over-The-Counter Laxatives
Including: sodium phosphate (OSP) products like Visicol and OsmoPrep.
13. Hyperthyroidism Drugs
14. Contrast Dye
Including: dyes used in MRIs and CT-scans.
15. Ulcer Medicines
Including: cimetidine and more.
16. Illegal Drugs
Including: Cocaine, heroin, and amphetamines.
Alcoholics have a high risk of developing both kidney and liver failure, so enjoy a drink in moderation or forgo it completely. Chemicals including insecticides, herbicides, and ethylene glycol can also cause acute kidney injury.
Acute kidney failure can lead to unpleasant problems including (6):
- Shortness of breath, caused by fluid buildup in the lungs
- Chest pain, caused by inflammation of the lining that covers your heart (pericardium).
- Muscle weakness, caused by electrolyte imbalance
- Permanent kidney damage, requiring either permanent dialysis or kidney transplant for survival.
Other organs are also affected by prescriptions, including your liver, which detoxifies chemicals and metabolizes drugs (7).