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GoodRx Health10 Medications That May Raise Your Risk of Kidney Damage

Although these drugs offer significant therapeutic benefits, healthcare professionals need to weigh the benefits against potential renal damage, particularly in patients with existing risk factors.

A wide range of medications from over-the-counter drugs to specialized prescriptions can pose risks to kidney health. Here are some points to share with your patients.

Key Points:

  • Kidneys play a crucial role in filtering toxins, waste, and extra fluids from the blood.
  • Damage to the kidneys can occur due to health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and the usage of certain medications.
  • Nephrotoxic medications can mildly worsen or severely injure kidney function.
  • Top medications linked to kidney damage include:
    • NSAIDs (ibuprofen, naproxen)
    • Diuretics (hydrochlorothiazide, furosemide)
    • ACE inhibitors (lisinopril, benazepril)
    • Iodinated radiocontrast
    • Vancomycin
    • Aminoglycoside antibiotics (gentamicin, tobramycin)
    • HIV medications (Truvada, Reyataz)
    • Other antiviral medications (acyclovir, ganciclovir)
    • Zoledronic acid
    • Calcineurin inhibitors (tacrolimus, cyclosporine modified).
  • Patients using these medications should be regularly monitored for kidney health.

Additional Points:

  • ACE inhibitors can be both protective and harmful to kidneys, depending on the patient’s overall health.
  • NSAIDs and diuretics are widely used but can contribute to kidney damage, especially in high-risk individuals.
  • Antibiotics like vancomycin and aminoglycosides can cause kidney damage, and patients are typically closely monitored during treatment.
  • Certain HIV and antiviral medications are linked to acute kidney injury, but not all carry this risk.
  • Zoledronic acid and calcineurin inhibitors pose serious risk to kidney health and should be avoided by those with existing kidney damage.


  • Clinicians should exercise caution while prescribing these medications, especially in patients with pre-existing kidney conditions. Regular monitoring of kidney function is crucial to mitigate the potential risk of kidney damage.

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Did You Know?
According to the National Kidney Foundation, approximately 1 in 3 adults in the US are at risk for kidney disease.

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