The information provided here is meant to give you a general idea about each of the medications listed below. Only the most general side effects are included. Ask your doctor if you need to take any special precautions. Use each of these medications only as recommended by your doctor, and according to the instructions provided. If you have further questions about usage or side effects, contact your doctor.

With progressive deterioration of kidney function, there needs to be an adjustment of either the dosage or the frequency of many drugs which depend on normal renal function for their elimination from the body. These drugs include the following:

If you have ]]>high blood pressure]]> , ]]>hyperlipidemia]]>, or ]]>diabetes]]>, medications will likely be ordered to control these conditions. Leakage of protein from the urine (proteinuria) is treated with two drugs used in the treatment of high blood pressure: ACE inhibitors and angitensin receptor blockers (ARBs). In addition, medications may be needed to treat complications of kidney disease. There are no medications to cure or reverse kidney failure.

Prescription Medications

]]>Cinacalcet HCL]]>

  • Sensipar


  • Furosemide (Lasix)
  • Bumetanide (Bumex)


  • Renagel

]]>Recombinant human erythropoietin (epoetin alfa)]]>

  • Epogen
  • Procrit

Over-the-Counter Medications

]]>Sodium bicarbonate]]>

]]>Calcium carbonate or calcium acetate]]>

Prescription Medications

]]> Cinacalcet HCL

In chronic renal disease, a disturbance in calcium, phosphate, and vitamin D metabolism lead to a condition called secondary ]]>hyperparathyroidism]]> , which is characterized by abnormally high levels of parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels in the blood. The high PTH levels lead to uremic bone disease. A recently approved drug, Cinacalcet HCL is effective in lowering the elevated PTH levels in chronic renal failure patients. It is taken by mouth.

Possible side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Transient low blood calcium level


Common names include:

Diuretics help rid the body of excess fluid. These medications are sometimes referred to as “water pills.” Diuretics may be taken by mouth or, in some cases, by injection.

Possible side effects include:

  • Dizziness
  • Mouth dryness
  • Weakness
  • Frequent urination



This agent, which is taken by mouth, binds phosphate to prevent increased blood phosphate levels that can lead to weakening of bones. The medication does not contain calcium, aluminum, or magnesium.

Possible side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Upset stomach


Recombinant Human Erythropoietin (Epoetin Alfa)

Common names include:

This drug is injected and used to treat anemia associated with renal failure. It stimulates production of red blood cells.

Possible side effects include:

  • Headache
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Joint aches
  • Nausea

Over-the-Counter Medications


Sodium Bicarbonate

Typically taken orally, sodium bicarbonate may be ordered if you develop a condition called metabolic acidosis, which is an excess of acid in the blood due to alterations in metabolism from kidney failure.

If you need to use sodium bicarbonate, you should review your dietary sodium intake with your physician or dietician, since this medication will increase the sodium in your diet.

Calcium Carbonate or Calcium Acetate

Calcium supplements are given to bind phosphate in order to maintain phosphate levels within a range that will not increase bone loss. These drugs are taken orally.

Possible side effects include:

  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Slow heart rate

Special Considerations

Whenever you are taking a prescription medication, take the following precautions:

  • Take your medication as directed. Do not change the amount or the schedule.
  • Do not stop taking them without talking to your doctor.
  • Do not share them.
  • Know what the results and side effects may be. Report them to your doctor.
  • Some drugs can be dangerous when mixed. Talk to a doctor or pharmacist if you are taking more than one drug. This includes over-the-counter medication and herb or dietary supplements.
  • Plan ahead for refills so you don’t run out.

When to Contact Your Doctor

Call your healthcare provider if you develop side effects from the medications or experience:

  • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dizziness or weakness