Time to dismiss ‘prescription drugs can cause kidney problems’ myth

— There is still a handful of people who believe that taking hospital-prescribed medications over a long period of time will cause kidney damage.

Therefore, some of these patients stop taking the medicines supplied by the hospital to treat their disease and choose to take alternative medicines, including supplements without learning about the content and side effects.

Consultant nephrologist at Sultan Ahmad Shah Medical [email protected], Dr Wan Ahmad Syahril Rozli Wan Ali said it was a public misunderstanding in linking taking medications to kidney damage.

“There is no denying that some modern drugs can affect kidney functions such as painkillers including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and also certain antibiotics.

“However, all drugs prescribed by doctors such as those for diabetes, high blood pressure and other chronic diseases have usually undergone in-depth studies to determine the safe doses, as well as the side effects and interaction with other drugs,” he said when contacted by Bernama.

Yet, he said although in Malaysia there had been no comprehensive study done to show that taking supplements would affect kidney functions, but when providing treatment and in their daily tasks, the doctors often found cases of patients who had kidney problems after taking supplements from outside.

“In fact, some of these patients did not have any risk of kidney failure, before taking the supplements,” he added.

Dr Wan Ahmad Syahril said most of the supplements sold in the market did not undergo comprehensive studies on the side effects as well as their interaction with other drugs.

“Sometimes, the preservatives used in the supplements can also affect kidney functions,” he said.

According to the statistics in the Malaysian Dialysis and Renal Transplant Registry 2018, there were a total of 44,136 patients undergoing dialysis treatment due to kidney failure and 8,431 of them being new dialysis patients.

He said kidney patients in Malaysia comprised 55 per cent men and 45 per cent women with the majority of them aged 55 and above.

“Based on the statistics, 69 per cent of the kidney failure cases in Malaysia is caused by diabetes, and it is increasing each year,” he said, adding that those who smoked were also at risk of kidney damage.

The national-level World Kidney Day celebration will be held on March 13 with the theme, “Living Well with Kidney Disease”.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency

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