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Am J Kidney Dis. 1994 Jul;24(1):17-24.

Chronic renal disease and papillary necrosis associated with the long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as the sole or predominant analgesic.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Kebangsaan Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur.


The risk of renal papillary necrosis and renal dysfunction due to the chronic use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is unknown. In a prospective study of 259 heavy analgesic users seen in a general medical hospital over an 11-year-period beginning in January 1982, 69 new cases of analgesic nephropathy with renal papillary necrosis were confirmed by intravenous urogram (26.6%), ultrasonography (30.4%), and/or computed tomography (43%). Twenty-nine of these patients (42%) had consumed excessive quantities of NSAIDs alone; an additional nine patients (13%) had consumed NSAIDs predominantly in combinations with paracetamol, aspirin, phenacetin, caffeine, and/or traditional herbal medications. Of those patients who consumed NSAIDs alone, 17 had consumed only a single type of NSAID and the remaining 12 had consumed multiple types of NSAIDs. The amount of NSAIDs administered ranged from 1,000 to 26,600 capsules or tablets over a 2- to 25-year period. Renal impairment (serum creatinine, 126 to 778 mumol/L) was noted in 26 of these 38 patients (64.8%). The reasons given for consuming NSAIDs include gouty arthritis (18 patients), osteoarthritis (seven patients), rheumatoid arthritis (six patients), chronic headache (three patients), gouty arthritis plus chronic headache (three patients), and chronic backache (one patient). All patients were prescribed these drugs and were followed medically. The occurrence of analgesic nephropathy was predominantly in males (male to female ratio, 1.9:1). Most of the patients did not have the characteristic psychological profile attributed previously to analgesic abuse nephropathy. Associated addictive habits, such as the use of psychotropic drugs and sleeping tablets, purgative abuse, and alcoholism, were absent.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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