Long time use of painkillers may affect your kidneys

Rahul Kaushik
3 Min Read

On the day of World Kidney Day, doctors of Artemis Hospital located in Gurugram have raised an alarm about the long-term use of pain killers. These medicines are leading to kidney damage among people. World Kidney Day is a global campaign. Annually the program is held on 10th March. It is intended at raising awareness about the importance of our kidneys.

Many painkillers are sold without a prescription for lessening pain and inflammation. These include Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, diclofenac and naproxen. A combination of drugs, including aspirin, acetaminophen and caffeine, are also easily available and commonly taken by patients for chronic headaches and backaches nowadays.

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 Dr. Manju Aggarwal, Chief – Medical Services & Chairperson – Nephrology at Artemis Hospital, Gurugram said, “Not many people realise it, but long-term use of analgesics (painkillers) can lead to a condition called analgesic neuropathy which causes kidney damage. Painkillers don’t harm the kidneys in healthy individuals if taken occasionally. However, taking them too often for a prolonged period, especially as a combination of drugs, can cause severe kidney damage.”

 Aggarwal added that for individuals such as the elder person, diabetics and patients of high blood pressure, the threat is even greater in high-risk. Their kidneys can get damaged with even occasional use of painkillers, she noted.

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 Painkillers lead to kidney damage in many ways, including an acute rise in creatinine levels, known as Acute Kidney Injury. There can also be worsening of pre-existing Chronic Kidney Disease in terms of rising creatinine levels. Painkillers can also cause a rise in potassium levels in the body. Most patients remain asymptomatic in the early stages of kidney disease and the raised creatinine is an incidental finding.

 However, in advanced forms of the disease, there can be breathlessness, vomiting, loss of appetite and swelling all over the body. The doctor said that prevention is always better than cure, so judicious use of painkillers is advised. These should be taken if necessary.

 “Patients with known kidney disease or those at risk of kidney disease such as the elderly and diabetics should avoid pain killers. They should instead switch to paracetamol or opioids for pain control,” Aggarwal advised. “If you are taking painkillers regularly and find that your creatinine level is raised, discontinue their use and see a nephrologist immediately,” she told.

Read also: Add green peas to your diet to stay healthy

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I'm Rahul Kaushik, news writer at GrowJust India. I love to write National, International and Business news. You may reach me at rahul@growjustindia.com
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