Chronic Kidney Disease Drug Interaction Information for Patients

Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) often take a large number of medications or pills. Because people who have diabetes and high blood pressure (hypertension) are at high risk for developing CKD, many CKD patients suffer from all three of these conditions. They may also have other diseases or disorders (such as heart disease and high cholesterol), and they may be taking different medicines for every one.

This can add up to dozens of pills every day. Most, if not all, of these medicines will have to pass through kidneys that are no longer working properly and that have trouble processing even one type of medication. The extra work imposed on kidneys that are already damaged can injure the kidneys even further. In addition to this increased kidney damage, the combination of drugs a person may be taking to treat these many illnesses can also cause dangerous drug interactions.

Some drug combinations can prevent drugs you really need from working as they should. Other combinations may create severe side effects. If you have CKD and are taking different meds for different health problems, you should take great care to avoid medicine interactions that can cause your serious illness or death.

Drug Combinations/Interactions that Cause Acute Kidney (Renal) Failure

A long list of drugs can cause kidney injury and acute (sudden) kidney failure if used in combination. Here are some of the drug combinations that can cause these serious interactions.

Statins (Cholesterol Drugs) Combined with Other Meds Can Cause Kidney Failure

Zocor (simvastatin) and Mevacor (lovastatin) are statin drugs used to treat problems with cholesterol. When Zocor or Mevacor are used in combination with any one of a large number of drugs, the patient may develop acute kidney failure.

The chances of suffering kidney failure from a statin and other drug combination are even higher for someone who already has Chronic Kidney Disease. The risk of interaction effects is also greater for people with other kidney disorders, such as Nephritis (kidney inflammation), Nephrosclerosis (kidney disease usually associated with high blood pressure), or Polycystic Kidney Disease (enlarged kidneys with many cysts).

Some of the drugs that can cause kidney failure when used in combination with Zocor or Mevacor include:

  • Agenerase (amprenavir)
  • Crixivan (indinavir)
  • Invirase (saquinavir)
  • Norvir (ritonavir)
  • Rescriptor (delaviridine)
  • Reyataz (atazanavir)
  • Viracept (nelfinavir)
  • Biaxin (clarithromycin)
  • E-Mycin (erythromycin)
  • Ketek (telithromycin)
  • Synercid (quinupristin)
  • TAO (troleandomycin)
  • Lopid (gemfibrozil)
  • Tricor (fenofibrate)
  • Cordarone (amiodarone)
  • Isoptin (verapamil)
  • Cardizem (diltiazem)
  • Diflucan (fluconazole)
  • Nizoral (ketoconazole)
  • Sporonax (itraconazole)
  • Vfend (voriconazole)
  • Luvox (fluvoxamine)
  • Nefazodone
  • Neoral (cyclosporine) (to suppress the immune system after kidney and other organ transplants)
  • Grapefruit and Grapefruit Juice

Lipitor (atorvastatin) is another statin (cholesterol drug) that can cause acute kidney failure when combined with other drugs. Lipitor has been found to cause kidney failure when taken with either Tricor (fenofibrate) or Lopid (gemfibrozil), medicines used to treat cholesterol problems and regulate triglycerides (fatty acids).

Drugs to Prevent Rejection of Kidney Transplants Can Cause Kidney Failure if Combined with Other Meds

Prograf (tacrolimus) is a drug used to prevent the body’s rejection of a kidney or other organ transplant. When Prograf is used in combination with certain other drugs, the interaction of the drugs can cause sudden kidney failure. Examples of medicines that can cause kidney failure when combined with Prograf include:

  • Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) Apo-Mefanamic (mefenamic acid) and Fenamate (fenamic acid)
  • The pain reliever Meclomen (meclofenamate)

Combinations of Antibiotics Can Cause Kidney Failure

The antibiotics Garamycin (gentamicin) and Cefalotin (cephalothin) may also cause acute (sudden) kidney failure when taken together.


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