Medicines to Avoid With Kidney Disease: Care Instructions

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Kidney disease means that your kidneys are not able to get rid of waste from the blood. So they can't keep your body's fluids and chemicals in balance. Usually, the kidneys get rid of waste from the blood through the urine. And they balance the fluids in the body.

When your kidneys don't work as they should, you have to be careful about some medicines. They may harm your kidneys. Your doctor may tell you not to take them or may change the dose.

Medicines for pain and swelling, such as ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve), can cause harm. So can some antibiotics and antacids. And you need to be careful about some drugs that treat cancer, lower blood pressure, or get rid of water from the body. Some herbal products could cause harm too.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Tell your doctor all the prescription, herbal, or over-the-counter medicines you take. Do not take any new ones unless you talk to your doctor first.
  • Do not take anti-inflammatory medicines. These include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve). You can use acetaminophen (Tylenol) for pain.
  • Do not take two or more pain medicines at the same time unless the doctor told you to. Many pain medicines have acetaminophen, which is Tylenol. Too much acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be harmful.
  • Tell all doctors and others who work with your health care that you have kidney disease.
  • Wear medical alert jewelry that lists your health problem. You can buy this at most drugstores.

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.