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An analgesic is any medicine intended to alleviate pain. Over-the-counter analgesics include the following:
Some conditions make taking these common painkillers dangerous for the kidneys. Taking one, or a combination of, these drugs regularly over a long period of time may increase the risk of kidney problems.
Analgesic nephropathy is a chronic kidney disease that gradually leads to end-stage renal disease and the need for permanent dialysis or a kidney transplant to restore renal function. It can result from taking painkillers every day for several years. And, the painkillers that combine two or more analgesics (for example, aspirin and acetaminophen together) with caffeine or codeine are the most likely to damage the kidneys. These mixtures are often sold as powders. Analgesic nephropathy occurs in four out of 100,000 people, usually in women over 30 years of age.
The following are the most common symptoms of analgesic nephropathy. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
Some patients experience no symptoms. The symptoms of analgesic nephropathy may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.
In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for analgesic nephropathy may include the following:
Specific treatment for analgesic nephropathy will be determined by your physician based on:
Treatment may include:
Treatment focuses on preventing any further kidney damage, and treatment of any existing kidney failure.
Some reports have attributed incidents of acute kidney failure to the use of painkillers, including aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. Many of the patients in these reports had risk factors such as the following:
Consult your physician for more information about diagnosis and treatment of analgesic nephropathy and acute kidney failure.