The habit is so ingrained in us now that we barely even think about it - if you’re feeling under the weather, you go to the pharmacy, get some medicine, and hope you feel better. But is this as safe as we’ve been led to believe? Does this habit of taking over the counter medications have a downside? A growing number of health experts think that there is a downside and they fear that over the counter medicines could potentially damage your kidneys.
It’s a strange concept to think about, because we don’t expect something that’s supposed to make us feel better to actually harm us. Some of the medicines that can cause kidney damage aren’t what you’d expect at all - which is almost the point. You really do need to look for things that can damage your kidneys.
Three Things That Can Damage Your Kidneys
Who hasn’t taken heartburn medication at one point or another? Very few people. The most popular types of heartburn medication are called PPI’s or Proton Pump Inhibitors, and include brand names like Nexium, Losec and Prevacid. A recent study of 125,000 U.S. patients using PPIs, which was carried out by Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly of the Washington University School of Medicine, found that more than half of those people studied went on to develop chronic kidney damage. They had no prior acute kidney issues.
The same study found that that people who use PPIs had, on average, a 20% increase in their chances of developing chronic kidney disease, compared to people who took other medications.
Pain Killing Medication
If you have a headache, you take a painkiller. If you injure your back playing squash, you take a painkiller. And that's fine for short term relief. But you have to follow the instructions on the bottle! When you chose to increase the dosage or start taking Acetaminophen on a daily basis, you risk kidney disease.
It doesn’t even have to be heavy duty painkillers like morphine, codeine or other opiates; this can happen with any brand of painkilling medicine. Studies have shown that heavy or long-term use of regular painkillers - such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and even strong doses of aspirin - can really damage your kidneys. These medications can cause chronic kidney disease known as chronic interstitial nephritis. This medication is supposed to make you feel better, but if you damage your kidneys like this - you’ll feel an awful lot worse.
It seems almost like a foolish question to ask but it’s a sensible thing to consider. Is Antibacterial soap safe? It turns out that if it contains an ingredient called triclosan, it really isn’t safe at all and it could well seriously damage your kidneys.
Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) who are undergoing dialysis are told to avoid hand soaps that have this substance in them because of the damage it can do to your renal system. Triclosan is becoming more and more regulated because of how dangerous it is. It breaks down into a substance called dioxin. The substance is so dangerous, that a compound chemical of triclosan was used in “Agent Orange” in the Vietnam War.
Imagine how that substance could damage your kidneys!
We really need to break the habit of just walking into a pharmacy and popping pills for whatever ails us. Without proper research on what you put into your body when you take these medicines, you can accidentally cause serious, long term damage to your kidneys; such as pain, kidney issues, and even kidney failure in some extreme cases.
A little more consideration about we use goes a long way. And if you've not been following the recommended dosages, it might be a good idea to get your kidneys checked!