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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

Improving the understanding, detection, and management of kidney disease.

Chronic Kidney Disease and Medicines (Brochure)

What You Need to Know

Because you have chronic kidney disease, you should take steps to protect your kidneys. Make changes to what you eat, manage your blood pressure, and manage your blood sugar if you have diabetes.

You also need to be careful about all of the medicines you take. Read this brochure to learn more, and talk with your pharmacist if you have questions.

What the kidneys do

Healthy kidneys filter wastes and extra water from your blood to make urine. The kidneys also help remove some medicines from your blood.

Why your pharmacist and provider need to know about your medicine and supplement use

Your kidneys do not filter as well as they did in the past. This can cause an unsafe buildup of medicines in your blood. Some medicines also can harm your kidneys.

Your pharmacist and healthcare provider need to know what medicines you take so they can give you advice on how to protect your kidneys. These medicines include:

  • Prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines—those you get without prescriptions, and
  • Supplements, such as vitamins and herbal or natural remedies

You may be told to:

  • Take some medicines in smaller amounts or less often
  • Stop taking a medicine or switch to a different one
What the kidneys do
What the Kidneys Do
Healthy kidneys filter wastes and extra water from your blood to make urine. The kidneys also help remove some medicines from your blood.

Do you take over-the-counter (OTC) medicines?

If you take OTC medicines for headaches, pain, fever, or colds, you may be taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs are OTC medicines that can be harmful to your kidneys. Common NSAIDs include ibuprofen and naproxen.

Ask your pharmacist or provider if the OTC medicines you take are safe to use. You also can look for NSAIDs on Drug Facts labels like the one below.

A picture of a sample drug label for a drug that contains ibuprofen. Ibuprofen is an NSAID.

What you can do

Remember that you can always talk with your pharmacist or provider about your medicines.

Chronic Kidney Disease and Medicines (Brochure)

Also available in Spanish.

Page last updated: July 10, 2013