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J Am Soc Nephrol. 2009 Oct;20(10):2098-103. doi: 10.1681/ASN.2008101097. Epub 2009 May 7.

Over-the-counter analgesic use.

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Department of Nursing Sciences, Laboratory of Pathophysiology, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium.


Chronic analgesic nephropathy, particularly chronic interstitial nephritis and renal papillary necrosis, results from daily use for many years of mixtures containing at least two analgesics and caffeine or dependence-inducing drugs. Computed tomography scan can accurately diagnose this disease even in the absence of reliable information on previous analgesic use. The occasion to moderate regular use of aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs is without renal risk when renal function is normal. Paracetamol use is less clear although the risk is not great. The continued use of non-phenacetin-combined analgesics with or without nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs is associated with faster progression toward renal impairment. As long as high-risk analgesic mixtures are available over the counter, analgesic nephropathy will continue to be a problem.

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