Published on February 7, 2024

Top 5 Drugs that Cause Kidney Damage

Your body has an efficient filtering system, which includes your kidneys. By peeing, they draw waste products, poisons, and surplus fluids out of your blood. However, it may be difficult for your kidneys to remove waste as they should if they are hurt or damaged. It can also cause a few medical disorders, such as diabetes and hypertension.

Your kidneys process every drug that you ingest. Kidney damage may result from drugs that are not used as prescribed by your doctor or when you are using illegal substances. Some of these drugs may cause more serious harm; others may only slightly impair kidney function. The drugs you take and your specific medical conditions will determine your risk of kidney damage. So it’s crucial to know those drugs that cause kidney damage to prevent our kidneys from getting hurt. So let’s explore in this article which of those top five drugs affect our kidneys negatively.

1. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs):

NSAIDs are widely used treatments for fever and discomfort. Additionally, they are frequently used to treat various illnesses, including inflammation, menstruation pain, and rheumatoid arthritis. 

Taking NSAIDs carries some dangers, even though they are generally well-tolerated and have a wide range of uses. Kidney injury or failure may result from these drugs’ effects on blood flow through the kidneys. Individuals who already have kidney issues, liver illness, or heart failure are more vulnerable to developing new or worsening kidney problems as a result of NSAID use.

NSAIDs should generally be taken as little as feasible, for the shortest amount of time, and at their lowest effective dose. Kidney damage is far less likely to occur with occasional NSAID dosages used within the prescribed dosage ranges.

2. Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) Inhibitors:

Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors have mixed effects on the kidneys. These drugs have been identified. Heart failure and excessive blood pressure are commonly treated with ACE inhibitors. Moreover, they can shield the kidneys in certain situations. However, there is a chance that ACE inhibitors will harm your kidneys because they are eliminated from the body by the kidneys.

If you use other nephrotoxic medications or are dehydrated, you have a higher risk of developing renal problems associated with ACE inhibitors. Either way, you’ll start with a smaller dosage. To track the condition of your kidneys over time, your healthcare provider could also advise that you undergo regular blood tests.

3. Opioids :

Opioids include a wide range of illicit and pharmaceutical substances and urinary retention is one of the side effects of opioids that can cause acute renal injury.

Although opioids are useful in treating pain, there is a significant risk of abuse associated with them. Opioids can cause addiction and destroy lives. It’s crucial to avoid this drug to avoid getting addicted. Even if you are a victim of this drug and are suffering, you should consult professionals immediately. There are also rehabs, such as Southern California rehab, that provide a whole range of treatments to remove addiction from your life.

4. Cocaine

Renal problems have been reported in both acute and long-term users of cocaine, a potent stimulant substance that produces pleasure and enhanced energy. This drug is addictive so it’s good if you stay away from cocaine.

5. Vancomycin

Vancomycin is an antibiotic that often causes kidney damage.  In hospitals, it’s widely used. Usually, 4–17 days after starting treatment, vancomycin can cause kidney impairment. And once therapy is discontinued, kidney function typically becomes better. Every time your vancomycin dose is given, hospital chemists and prescribers collaborate to closely monitor you.


Determining whether you have kidney disease is not always simple. There’s a chance you won’t even feel any symptoms. Furthermore, certain lab tests may be necessary before your healthcare professional detects any symptoms. Get in touch with your doctor regularly to make sure your kidneys are in good health. 

Checking your kidney function and modifying your drug regimen, including dosage or substituting an existing prescription, should be done if you have kidney disease, in particular.  As a result, any side effects from the drug—such as more kidney damage—will be less likely.  It’s also crucial to avoid taking too many antibiotics or getting involved with illegal drugs, which will eventually harm your kidneys.

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