Medications and your kidney health

Young woman reading while holding medicine.

Understanding the impact of medications on your kidneys matters

Accurate knowledge is an important part of you taking charge of your health, especially if you have kidney problems and are taking medications.

Certain medicines can build up in your body and impair your kidneys or even damage them. That’s why your doctor may change your medication dosage or even the type of medication you’re taking altogether.

No matter your situation, be sure to read and follow the instructions on your medication’s label. Above all, don’t stop taking any prescription medicines without talking with your doctor first.

Medications to be aware of

Here’s a list of medications to talk with your doctor about:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and naproxen. NSAIDs can reduce the flow of blood to your kidneys. NSAIDs are also found in medicines for fever, colds and coughs, and sleep problems.
  • Acetaminophen and aspirin may be harmful if overused. They are usually safe in small amounts.
  • Herbal supplements, which can contain minerals like potassium that are harmful for people who have kidney disease. Many herbs can interact with prescription medicines. Always check with your doctor or pharmacist before you take herbal products.
  • Statin medicines, such as atorvastatin, lovastatin, and simvastatin, for high cholesterol.
  • Diabetes medicines, including insulin and metformin.
  • Heartburn and upset-stomach medicines, such as Milk of Magnesia and Alka-Seltzer. These medicines can affect your electrolytes.
  • Antimicrobial medicines, including some antibiotics, anti-fungal, and antiviral medicines.

Remember, talking with your doctor about your medications is key.