Some medications can harm your kidneys, including certain antibiotics and anticancer drugs. Your kidney function should be closely monitored if you’re prescribed such drugs. Certain contrast dyes that are injected during imaging studies can also be harmful.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) found in many over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers, cold medicines, antacids, and other drugs can also be harmful to your kidneys. NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), and naproxen (Aleve). If you have chronic kidney disease, ask your doctor about alternative pain relievers.
Before using any OTC drugs, including acetaminophen (Tylenol), you should ask your doctor or pharmacist whether they’re safe for you and whether they’ll interact with any drugs you’re currently taking.
This article first appeared in the March 2019 issue of UC Berkeley Health After 50.