Here's my last post for National Kidney Month. Check out myth #1 and myth #2 as well!
Myth #3: Over-the-counter medications are safe for my kidneys. / Over-the-counter medications are dangerous for my kidneys.
Lastly, I’ve noticed that some of my patients are very hesitant to take over-the-counter (OTC) medications because they are concerned about risks to the kidneys, liver and stomach, and are not sure which medications cause which risks. Other patients take OTC meds at dangerously high doses without consulting a physician. Here, I’ll address the confusion surrounding which medications can be hazardous to the kidneys or other organs.
A class of medications commonly used for pain and fever called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs –pronounced en-seds) includes:
Aspirin is a medication similar to NSAIDs and carries the same precautions as far as kidney health.
(An aside: NSAIDs and aspirin also can irritate the stomach, increase risk for bleeding, and raise your blood pressure, especially at high doses or for prolonged periods.)
Acetaminophen (sold under brand name Tylenol) is another over-the-counter medication commonly taken for pain. It is safe for the kidneys and stomach, but, especially at high doses, may damage the liver, a different but equally fascinating and important organ, perhaps the subject of another blog post in the future (get excited!!!).
In summary, the kidneys have an incredibly important job to keep us healthy, but unfortunately, they can be overlooked and underappreciated until severe kidney disease starts to develop. The most important thing to do to keep your kidneys healthy are:
I hope you learned something new about the kidneys: and if you did, *urine* (you’re in) luck!
This blog provides general information which is not intended to be and should not be construed as medical advice. Talk to your family doctor about any medical concerns and to get more information on this subject.