The cause of anything in excess is axiomatically bad. That not only applies to the chaos created by the students in the classroom but also in literal terms to everything. Too much talk, too much love, too much water, and even too much medication is a potential threat to the stability of health. Especially when we must talk about painkillers, too much of it can have adverse damage to the functionality of the kidneys. The study of effects of painkillers on kidneys can range from general side effects to specified problems such as the effect of low dose Aspirin on kidneys or the question of if ibuprofen can be taken with one kidney etc. So, in the below sections we will first cover the general side effects and then discuss some specified problems of excess painkillers and preventions that can be made to avoid those.
Side-effects of Painkillers on Kidneys
If painkillers are being taken in prescribed dosages for that fixed period to which its prescribed and the patient is under the supervision of a doctor, the chances of kidney damage are reduced to be rare. Mostly, kidney failures are caused in patients who suffer from prolonged joint pain for which they take painkillers and generally intake these medications without the proper consultation of a licensed doctor. Also, this act of careless belief in self-medication is extended to the continued periods of months or even years which add to the factors of kidney damage extensively. Moreover, another compounding factor to it is that they consult more than one doctor as a result of which they take multiple dosages of painkillers which obviously exceed the prescribed dosage of any doctor. Now the main effect of a painkiller for which it’s used is that either it sedates or changes the physiology of the body due to which many forms of pain are sensationally reduced, and, in some cases, a psychological boost is felt. But as said earlier too much painkiller by changing the biochemical activity of the body affects the physiology of the kidneys in a very adverse manner. Functionality is reduced which mainly includes partial filtration of blood. As a result, a patient is officially diagnosed to have multiple kidney failures.
Some specific problems of using painkillers.
· Use of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and renal function.
As Cyclooxygenase 1(COX1) and Cyclooxygenase 2(COX2) play a major role in renal function, NSAIDs can affect both COX1 and COX2 in kidneys. In patients who have a low level of renal blood flow, COX1 inhibition by NSAID can result in reduced renal profusion and NSAID inhibition of COX2 can result in altered tubular sodium and water handling. In patients who already suffer from low kidney functioning, NSAIDs can further cause fluid retention. Therefore, NSAIDs are not recommended in the case of low blood functioning.
· Effects of low-dose Aspirin on kidneys of elderly patients.
Low dose Aspirin affects the creatinine and uric acid transport which causes a prolonged decrease in kidney functioning resulting in permanent damage of the kidneys if not stopped at the proper hour.
Preventive measures for painkiller effects on the kidneys
- When dealing with severe pain that follows medical procedures such as kidneys, take painkillers for the shortest period needed.
- Prioritize nonpharmacological treatments for chronic pain.
- Get regularly examined by a doctor when taking painkillers which mainly shall include urine tests.
- If one has been taking painkillers for a long period of time, their doctor must gradually proceed to stop medication for the withdrawal of extensive use of painkillers can be severely dangerous for kidneys.
- Most importantly one should always try to consider the ratio of benefit to risk in taking painkillers.
By: Dr. Ravi Bhadania
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