Medications and Kidney Failure

Last Updated: 03/28/17


  1. Some Reasons for Kidney
  2. Determining Kidney Health
  3. Preventing Kidney Damage
  4. Summary

Also Known As: Renal Failure

The kidneys are a pair of vital organs that perform many functions to keep the blood clean and chemically balanced. It is easier to maintain healthy kidneys then it is to recover from poor kidney health.

Only one working kidney is needed, but treatments a person might be receiving will damage both kidneys equally. Once a certain level of damage is done, Dialysis, a weekly treatment to purify the blood might be required. A kidney transplant might even be needed.

1. Some Reasons for Kidney Damaging

Some of the treatments that can damage the kidneys include:

  1. MRI Contrast Injection Contrast (Gadolinium)
  2. CT (CAT) Scan Contrast Injection Contrast
  3. Tumor Inhibitors: Bevacizumab (Avastin™) and other medications in NF2 Clinical Trials
  4. Pain Medication: Ibuprofen (Motrin)
  5. High Hemoglobin - Overconsumption of Iron in food or vitamins
  6. Overconsumption of Water

1. MRI Contrast Injection (Gadolinium)

Gadolinium, MRI contrast agents are a group of contrast compounds used to improve the visibility of internal body structures for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). The most commonly used compounds for contrast enhancement include a selection of different Gadolinium compounds.

Despite possible complications of kidney issues, Gadolinium is safer than iodinated contrast agents used in X-ray radiography or CT Scans (Computed Tomography Scans).

2. Tumor Inhibitors: Bevacizumab (Avastin™)

The problem for a tumor growth condition without a cure is that Tumor Inhibitors taken, like Avastin, can only be taken until the side effects outweigh the advantages of the treatment. This is why no medication has risen past Clinical Trial level. The risk of Kidney Failure is one reason why tests are taken before each treatment of Avastin is given.

3. Pain Medication: Ibuprofen (Motrin)

The pain medication of Ibuprofen (Motrin) is often taken for body pain and can be more effective than other over the counter pain medications.

It is a commonly used medication for body nerve pain when Peripheral Neuropathy is an issue. Peripheral Neuropathy starts out as signs of poor circulation, until it develops into nerve and muscle pain, but regular overabundance of Motrin can easily result in kidney failure and kidneys should be monitored and taking Motrin should be switched to a prescription.

Peripheral Neuropathy is a common NF2 issue but is also caused by other health issues as well.

2. Determining Kidney Health

There are health issues that could be the result of poor kidney health or other health issues and yet a person can have poor kidney health without having any symptoms. But kidney health can be easily detected through routine blood and urine tests.

Individuals who think they might have poor kidney health may want to indicate it as a possible issue to a doctor before blood and urine tests are done.

3. Preventing Kidney Damage

Simple things can be done to minimize the risk of damage to the Kidneys, including:

  1. Blood Test
  2. Fluids
  3. Fruits and Vegetables
  4. Iron
  5. Protein
  6. Things to Avoid

1. Blood Test

If you have yearly MRIs or any of the above listed kidney failure risks apply, it is best to have a yearly blood test to check for kidney issues. This is a typical part of yearly bloodwork done in a physical.

2. Fluids

Drinking as much water as possible the same day as receiving a treatment that may damage kidneys, in addition to regular water consumption in general can help. This can also include fruit juices, ginger ale or tea. To avoid dehydration the day of treatment avoiding coffee is also recommended and otherwise try to drink no more than one or two cups of coffee daily.

3. Fruits and Vegetables

Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and low in salt or oxalate-rich food can help prevent mineral build up, while avoiding foods high in potassium including bananas. Some of those include:

  • Fruit: Cherries, grapefruit, grapes, mangoes, melons, green and yellow plums and nectarines.
  • Vegetables: Cabbage, chives, cauliflower, cucumbers, endive, kohlrabi, mushrooms, radishes, water chestnuts and peas.
  • Meat and Seafood: Lean beef, fish -- except for sardines -- lamb, poultry, pork and shellfish.
  • Dairy: Cheese, milk and buttermilk
  • Starches: Barley, corn and rice-based cereals, egg noodles, English muffins, graham crackers, plain pasta, wild rice and white rice.

4. Iron

If you know you are already experiencing some amount of poor kidney function, eating iron rich foods can help. Some of these things include; Red meat, Egg yolks, Dark leafy greens (spinach, collards) and Dried fruit (prunes, raisins).

5. Protein

Protein is important to the body. It helps the body repair muscles and fight disease. Protein comes mostly from meat but can also be found in eggs, milk, nuts, beans, and other foods.

Some doctors tell their kidney patients to limit without avoiding the amount of protein they eat so the kidneys have less work to do.

6. Things to Avoid

Nicotine is a stimulating drug, and can cause blood vessels to constrict, or become smaller. When blood flow to the kidneys is reduced, people can sustain damage to the glomerulus, which is the filter of the kidney.

4. Summary

Regular doses of treatments that are potentially harmful to kidneys, increases the risk of permanent damage. Chances of issues are even higher when tumor inhibitors, or chemotherapy agents, are taken and require additional MRIs.

Consider items listed under Preventing Kidney Damage, to help can help prevent damage the fluid listing is the most important on prevention and follow up with your doctors about tests to check kidney health.

5. Sources

  1. National Library of Medicine. PubMed Health. Ibuprofen (By mouth).
  5. American Cancer Society. Anemia in People With Cancer. (2016)
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