Drugs and the Kidneys
As the kidneys help to filter wastes (including drugs) from the blood, the tiny filtering units, each of which is called a glomerulus, get exposed to high concentrations of drugs as part of the filtering process. As a result, the glomerulus is vulnerable to drug toxicity.
Also, the kidneys normally receive about 25% of the blood supply, and as blood carries medicines, these can also accumulate in the kidney.
Therefore, a huge range of drugs has the potential to cause kidney damage. The types of damage to kidney cells (nephrons) and their filtering tubes can vary, but here are some examples of the results of drug toxicity on nephrons:
In some cases, signs or symptoms of kidney injury will at first be subtle.
Drugs and the Kidneys -- Caution
Below is a list of some drugs and herbs with the potential to cause kidney injury; in some cases this problem is rare. In the case of the listed herbs, kidney toxicity can be severe and readers should avoid using the specific herbs or ingredients listed. For the listed drugs, in general, most otherwisehealthy HIV positive people should not have severe or life-threatening kidney problems as a result of taking these drugs. However, some of these drugs are used in very ill people, and in such cases kidney toxicity can occur. Note that this list is not exhaustive:
Because initial kidney injury can be mild, regular monitoring of the kidneys is necessary when these drugs are prescribed. It is important to stay hydrated, drinking at least a litre of healthful fluids -- water, juice, herbal teas -- each day. Liquids containing alcohol or caffeine increase the need for drinking more water.
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This article was provided by Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange. It is a part of the publication Treatment Update. Visit CATIE's Web site to find out more about their activities, publications and services.