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Safe medication practices for Black Americans with CKD

APOL1-mediated kidney disease

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects over 37 million Americans, with a higher prevalence among Black Americans compared to non-Hispanic White Americans. The kidneys play a crucial role in filtering waste and excess fluid from the blood, but CKD impairs this function, potentially leading to kidney failure and the need for dialysis.

Individuals with CKD need to be cautious about the medications they consume, as most are processed through the kidneys. Over-the-counter (OTC) medications and supplements, while commonly used, require careful consideration and consultation with health care providers to avoid further kidney damage.

Medication tips for people with CKD

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): These are used for pain, inflammation, and fever. Safe when used short-term, NSAIDs can pose risks if taken in high doses or for prolonged periods. Common NSAIDs include Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and Naproxen (Aleve).

Antacids: Used to treat heartburn and indigestion, antacids should be used cautiously. Long-term use can lead to elevated levels of harmful minerals due to reduced kidney function. Examples include Maalox and Mylanta.

Herbal supplements: These should be used under guidance as they are not FDA-regulated. Some, like Cat’s Claw, Creatine, and Licorice Root, may be harmful to those with kidney issues.

Always discuss any new medication or supplement with a health care provider, especially when managing a condition like CKD, to ensure your safety and health.