Ibuprofen inducing kidney damage

NSAID-ibuprofen-pills-300x199

A new study published in the July 2017 edition of Emergency Medicine Journal —— Ibuprofen versus placebo effect on acute kidney injury in ultramarathons: a randomised controlled trial

The findings are:

  • Kidney injury was quite common. About 44% of these ultramarathoners experienced significantly reduced kidney function by the end of the race.
  • Kidney injury was more common among those taking ibuprofen. Just over half of the NSAID-takers had reduced kidney function, while about one-third of those in the placebo group did. Despite these findings, the differences in rates of kidney injury were not statistically significant.
  • The severity of kidney injury was greater in the ibuprofen group.
  • A faster finish and greater weight loss during the race (likely due to greater dehydration) increased the likelihood of kidney injury.

Ibuprofen and related medications (called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs) are used for a number of conditions, including arthritis, back pain, and headache.

More than a dozen different NSAIDs are available, including naproxen (as in Naprosyn or Aleve), celecoxib (Celebrex), diclofenac (Voltaren) and indomethacin (Indocin). Aspirin is also an NSAID, though it is usually taken in small doses for its blood thinning effects (to prevent heart attack or stroke) rather than for pain.

The safety profile of NSAIDs is generally quite good,  but still they can cause trouble.

  • Upset stomach
  • intestinal bleeding
  • cardiovascular problems
  • The risk of heart attack may be increased among users of NSAIDs, especially among those at increased risk (such as those who have had a previous heart attack).
  • Plus, kidney injury.

So what?

If you are taking an NSAID regularly, you should be having regular blood monitoring, including measures of kidney function. And if you have significant kidney disease, you should probably avoid non-aspirin NSAIDs altogether. Ask your doctor whether you are a good candidate for NSAID use. They can be quite helpful, and many of their side effects can be avoided with proper precautions.

from Harvard Health Publications —— Is it safe to take ibuprofen for the aches and pains of exercise?

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