Top 10 Worst Medications for Kidneys That You Need to Avoid

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Did you know that worst medications for kidneys could be lurking in your medicine cabinet right now? We’ve discovered the most common medications that could be causing your kidneys dome serious damage so make sure your meds are NOT on this list!

Little do people know that there are medications on the market that can actually cause kidney damage. Even though many of these medications can be life-saving, many are known to be life-taking as well.

The worst medications for kidneys can severely damage the kidneys are called nephrotoxic medications. They can cause immediate toxicity to the kidneys and make up for 25 percent of acute kidney ailments.

10 Worst Medications for Kidneys

To help you avoid being exposed to these types of medications, below are a list of the 10 most common ones that can cause damage to your kidneys.


NSAID medications, otherwise known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, can be incredibly dangerous to your kidneys and can induce a number of kidney damage along with other conditions, such as menstrual pain, rheumatoid arthritis, fever, and inflammation in the body. Common NSAIDS include: Motrin, Aleve, naproxen, ibuprofen, and Advil.

It can restrict blood flow to the kidneys, causing extensive kidney damage and failure in some cases. People who suffer from liver disease, heart failure, or current kidney problems are at a higher risk if given NSAIDS. However, to reduce the side effects of taking this medication, work on lowering doses and only take it for a short amount of time.

2.) Diuretics

Diuretics are used to assist your body in getting rid of extra water and salt. This form of medication is primarily used to help treat blood pressure, edema, and glaucoma. It comes in three main diuretics types: loop diuretics, potassium-sparing diuretics, and thiazide diuretics.

However, the medication can affect the water in the body, which can deteriorate kidney function. Before using, talk to your doctor to see if this medication will be the best fit for you.

3.) Jardiance

Jardiance, otherwise known as empagliflozin, is a new type of diabetes medication that is known to cause kidney complications. Along with other nephrotoxic drugs, Jardiance can cause even more complications as well.

4.) Foscarnet

Foscarnet is rarely used but is used as an antiviral for immunocompromised hospitalized patients. However, nevertheless, it is a nephrotoxic drug that can cause injury to your kidneys when used.

5.) Zoledronate

Zoledronate is a common drug to help treat osteoporosis but can cause both kidney failure and tubular cell toxicity. Zometa can be given as an IV infusion for cancer bone metastases and holds a well-known risk of kidney failure.

6.) Vancomycin

This is an antibiotic used specifically for the treatment of MRSA, aka methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus, infections. This drug can lead to serious kidney damage and may even cause them to swell.

If you are taking this antibiotic, your levels will be monitored very closely to ensure you do not sustain any damage to your kidneys.

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7.) ACE Inhibitors

ACE inhibitor medications can be hard to classify because they can be both good and bad for your kidneys. Even though they are known to be kidney protective medication for diabetes, they can sometimes result in a decline in kidney function when first introduced to the body.

If you are getting treated with ACE inhibitors for either heart failure or blood pressure, make sure you are started on low doses first, while getting routine blood tests to make sure your kidneys are functioning properly.

8.) Iodinated Radiocontrast

This may seem like a hard and complicated medication, but iodinated radiocontrast merely refers to diagnostic tests that involve dyes.

Among the most commonly known conditions of damage, this medication is contrast-induced kidney damage from iodinated radiocontrast. It is also a common kidney injury in patients that are hospitalized after 28 hours of an IV contrast injection.

9.) Aminoglycoside Antibiotics

Even at very low doses, this antibiotic is known for a majority of kidney injury or failure. People who suffer from chronic kidney disease or have taken this form of antibiotic are most at risk.

However, the most harmful type of aminoglycoside antibiotic is called neomycin, along with gentamicin, tobramycin, amikacin, and streptomycin.

Although all of these medications are currently used in hospitals around the world, it’s important you know what may or may not be harmful to your health.

10.) HIV Medications & Antiretrovirals

A number HIV medications and antiretrovirals are commonly associated with kidney disease risk and chronic renal problems.

However, both Viread (tenofovir) and Retataz (atazanavir) have proven to cause acute tubular necrosis. This is a kidney disorder that damages the tubule cells of the kidneys, which can lead to kidney failure.

Please SHARE this Top 10 worst medications for kidneys list with your friends and family.

About Cary Byrd

eDrugSearch founder, Cary Byrd, has been called an “e-health innovator” by MarketIntellNow, interviewed by top pharmaceutical industry journalists, invited to Matthew Holt’s Health 2.0 Conference and a Consumer Report's health summit, and highlighted on numerous health blogs.

Worst Medications That Cause Kidney Failure

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