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Top Ten Drugs That Cause Kidney Damage

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Drugs That Cause Kidney Damage

The list of individual drugs that cause kidney damage is so long that it's hard to decide on the top ten. So I've chosen to list them by type of drug: antibiotic, analgesic, etc.

Top ten drugs that cause kidney damage:

1. Antibiotics, including ciprofloxacin, methicillin, vancomycin, sulfonamides.
2. Analgesics, including acetominophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID): aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, and others available only by prescription.
3. COX-2 inhibitors, including celecoxib (brand name Celebrex). Two drugs in this class have been withdrawn from the market because of cardiovascular toxicity: rofecoxib (brand name Vioxx), and valdecoxib (brand name Bextra). These drugs are a special class of NSAID that were developed to be safer for the stomach, but have the same risk as other NSAIDs for kidney damage. See Ref. 3.

4. Heartburn drugs of the proton pump inhibitor class, including omeprazole (brand name Prilosec), lansoprazole (brand name Prevacid), pantoprazole (brand name Protonix), rabeprazol (brand names Rabecid, Aciphex), esomeprazole (brand names Nexium, Esotrex). See Ref. 4.
5. Antiviral drugs, including acyclovir (brand name Zovirax) used to treat herpes infection, and indinavir and tenofovir, both used to treat HIV.
6. High blood pressure drugs, including captopril (brand name Capoten).
7. Rheumatoid arthritis drugs, including infliximab (brand name Remicade); chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, which are used to treat malaria and systemic lupus erythematosus as well as rheumatoid arthritis.
8. Lithium, used to treat bipolar disorder.
9. Anticonvulsants, including phenytoin (brand name Dilantin) and trimethadione (brand name Tridione), used to treat seizures and other conditions.
10. Chemotherapy drugs, including interferons, pamidronate, cisplatin, carboplatin, cyclosporine, tacrolimus, quinine, mitomycin C, bevacizumab; and anti-thyroid drugs, including propylthiouracil, used to treat overactive thyroid.

For many prescription drugs, you can find the full prescribing information online. This information is typically 10 – 30 pages long, and includes detailed precautions, warnings, and adverse effects.

Add a Comment14 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I take omeprazole for reflux, went to one kidney dr. said that was causing kidney problems.

June 20, 2018 - 5:53am
EmpowHER Guest

Laprazol fast tabs caused me severe pain in my kidneys, back pain and spinal pain. It is so painful that I cannot even walk or sleep at night. The only way to overcome the pain is by taking depon pills which alleviates the pain for only 4 hours

August 28, 2015 - 6:07pm
EmpowHER Guest

I would like to know where the good doctor got her information. Some of her info I would have to question. I have systemic lupus and I see the top rheumatologist in the country and he prescribes hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) for his lupus patients. This is pretty much a miracle drug for lupus patients. It helps with all the joint pains, fevers, keeps cholesterol down, and prevents kidney damage. The only rare problem involves some loss of vision, but again, very rare and not an issue if you see an eye doc every six months to catch problem early. I really would like to know why she included this drug. She doesn't list her sources, so we can't really gage how accurate this info is.

April 5, 2015 - 2:32am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I have kidney disease and RA and melanoma I was recently put on plaque nil 200mgs and have had nausea diarrea skin rash dizziness headaches and now severe pain in my right side and kidney. My pharmacist warned me to be cautious about taking this drug she was right now I'm having to take more antibiotics for the infection in my kidney. Bad drug not enough info regarding kidney disease and taking this drug

June 16, 2016 - 8:36am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I noticed Tylenol is on the list and it is actually recommended by the national kidney foundation.

June 5, 2015 - 5:17pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Yes... I agree! Tylenol is metabolized by the liver, so how is that dangerous for the kidneys??? Now these NSAIDS on the other hand are metabolized by the kidneys, so that one small thing you would be correct on, but I can give you a 99.9% guarantee that taking Tylenol will not damage your kidneys and is the preferred choice actually!!!

April 28, 2017 - 7:21pm
EmpowHER Guest

I took 40 mg of Prilosec every day for a year - stomach ulcers. Now my urine is foamy and I have proteinuria. 36 white male, used to be healthy. Oh well. I guess I threw my life away. Thanks, Prilosec.

February 16, 2015 - 2:12pm
EmpowHER Guest


Thanks for this, understanding and looking after your Kidneys, as a key organ, is very important. If you're concerned check out the symptoms here:

Hope this helps.

February 12, 2013 - 4:11am
EmpowHER Guest

I have recently been diagnosed with stage 2 ckd. I have been on Nexium (mostly 2 times a day) since 1999. Could the Nexium have attributed to my ckd? I do have high blood pressure and was told this is the cause of my ckd.

March 30, 2010 - 12:48pm
Expert HERWriter Guide Blogger (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Anon -

High blood pressure is one of the main contributing factors in developing chronic kidney disease. You can learn more about ckd through the EmpowHER reference page: https://www.empowher.com/media/reference/chronic-renal-failure

While very rare, kidney side effects have been reported from the use of Nexium, including at least two cases of interstitial nephritis. You can learn more here:

According to another resource this is a very rare side effect, affecting less than 1 in 10,000 people. http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/medicines/100004304.html

Have you been provided with information to assist you with this condition? Have you considered joining a support group? There are a lot of things you can do to help manage ckd and we wish you all the best in doing so.
Take care, Pat

March 30, 2010 - 6:09pm
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