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NSAIDs in CKD: Are They Safe?

  • Megan Baker
    Affiliations
    Department of Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT
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  • Mark A. Perazella
    Correspondence
    Address for Correspondence: Mark A. Perazella, MD, Section of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, BB114, 330 Cedar St, New Haven, CT 06410.
    Affiliations
    Section of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT

    Department of Medicine, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, West Haven, CT
    Search for articles by this author
      The management of pain in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) is challenging for many reasons. These patients have increased susceptibility to adverse drug effects due to altered drug metabolism and excretion, and there are limited safety data for use in this population despite a high pain burden. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have long been regarded as dangerous for use in patients with CKD because of their risk for nephrotoxicity and thus alternative classes of analgesics, including opioids, have become more commonly used for pain control in this population. Given the well-established risks that opioids and other analgesics pose, further characterization of the risk posed by NSAIDs in patients with CKD is warranted. NSAID use has been associated with acute kidney injury, progressive loss of glomerular filtration rate in CKD, electrolyte derangements, and hypervolemia with worsening of heart failure and hypertension. The risk for these nephrotoxicity syndromes is modified by many comorbid conditions, risk factors, and characteristics of use, and in patients with CKD, the risk differs between levels of glomerular filtration rate. In this review, we offer recommendations for the cautious use of NSAIDs in the CKD population after careful consideration of these risk factors on an individualized basis.

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