Most treatments for PKD treat the disease symptoms or prevent complications. Some of these treatment options may include:
- High blood pressure medication—Since high blood pressure is common with PKD, antihypertensive medications are often prescribed to control blood pressure.
- Pain medication—Pain medications must be used cautiously, since some of them can cause further damage to the kidneys.
- Antibiotics—In the event of a urinary tract infection, aggressive treatment with antibiotics is required to avoid further damage to the kidneys.
- Surgery—Cysts may be drained through surgery to relieve pain, blockage, infection, or bleeding. Cyst drainage may also temporarily lower blood pressure. Sometimes, one or both kidneys may be removed, called a nephrectomy , if pain is severe.
- Diet—A low-protein diet may reduce stress on the kidney. Avoiding salt can help maintain normal blood pressure and drinking lots of water can help reduce the risk of kidney stones .
- Dialysis and transplantation—More than half of PKD patients develop kidney failure and require dialysis . Dialysis is used to remove wastes from the blood, since the kidneys cannot. At this stage, dialysis will be a lifelong requirement unless a kidney transplant from a donor can be arranged and performed successfully.
Recent research has led to the development of several drugs that may prevent cysts from developing. An example is somatostatin, which has been studied in humans and may one day be available to prevent polycystic kidneys from developing.