Kidney Disease

Frequently Asked Questions

14. What kinds of medicines are used for kidney disease?

Two types of blood-pressure medicines -- angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) -- have been shown to protect the kidneys and delay kidney failure. These medicines have been shown to protect kidney function in people who have either diabetes or high blood pressure, as well as those with various types of kidney disease.

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Many people need two or more types of medicines to keep their blood pressure below recommended levels to keep the kidneys healthy. (Your systolic blood pressure—the first number—should be less than 140.) A diuretic (water pill) also can be important. Your healthcare provider will determine which medication or combination of medications is right for you.

Because you have kidney disease, you need to be careful about all the medicines you take. Your kidneys do not filter as well as they did in the past. This can cause an unsafe buildup of medicines in your blood. Some medicines can also harm your kidneys.

Your pharmacist and health care provider need to know about all the medicines you take so they can give you advice on how to protect your kidneys.

Some older adults with kidney disease may be taking medications for other diseases as well. As kidney disease progresses, it is likely that the doctor will need to adjust the dosages of medications which affect the kidney or are removed by the kidney.