Icon - Medication & kidney disease

Medication & kidney disease

Taking blood pressure medications and other treatments for diabetes can actually slow down the damage to your kidneys. Each medication is given for a particular reason and should be taken as directed.

Your regular medications may include:

  • anti-hypertensives to control your blood pressure
  • diuretics to increase your urine output

  • medications to keep your heart healthy

  • phosphate binders to control your phosphate levels

  • vitamin D to maintain strong bones and other benefits

  • injections, including erythropoeitin and iron, to control your anaemia.

Many people with kidney disease also take regular medications for their diabetes, thyroid disorders, pain and arthritis.

Do not use out of date medications
Medications past their use-by date are less effective or even harmful. You can take these medications to a chemist or local hospital pharmacy for safe disposal. Never throw them in a rubbish bin.

Have a medication review
If you have taken a particular medication for a long time, or take a number of tablets, or have attended different doctors, consider asking your current doctor or a chemist to review your medications. Some may no longer be suitable, there may be new medications available or a dose may need changing.

Tell health professionals you have kidney disease
If you are seeing a new doctor or health professional, tell them about your kidney condition, as this may influence their choice of medications and other treatments.

For example, some drugs are filtered through the kidney and can build up if you have end stage kidney disease. Some drugs need to be avoided while others need to be at a lower or safer dosage.

Some over-the-counter medications fall into this group, including:

  • Alka Seltzer, baking powder and bubbling remedies, as they contain sodium

  • milk of magnesia or antacids containing magnesium

  • aspirin, as it can affect blood clotting and also cause bleeding

  • NSAIDS, which are anti-inflammatory medications

  • enemas and laxatives, unless suggested by your doctor

  • vitamins or food supplements, as they may contain potassium and magnesium.

Herbal or complimentary medications may also have side effects and can interact with other medications, so they may be unsuitable.

Shop around for the cheapest price
To avoid paying extra for your medication, ask your doctor to prescribe the cheapest brand or check with your chemist if there is a less expensive brand. Try a few different chemists; sometimes the prices can vary.

Beware of buying prescription medicines over the Internet as you may run the risk of getting bogus, out-of-date, inappropriate or unapproved medication

If you have any concerns or questions about your medications, talk to your pharmacist, visit the National Prescribing Service or call their Medicines Line on 1300 MEDICINE (1300 633 424) during business hours.

Fact sheets and other helpful information can be found in our Resource Library.

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