How to Prevent Kidney Damage From Antibiotics


Antibiotics are often necessary to treat bacterial infections but can cause many side effects, including kidney damage. Every medication that you take is filtered out of your blood by your kidneys and excreted in the urine. You should discuss with your physician options to prevent adverse side effects from any medications that he prescribes to you and options to prevent kidney damage from them. However, there are several steps that you can take in your own home to to prevent kidney damage from antibiotics.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Cranberry juice

How to Prevent Kidney Damage From Antibiotics

  • Drink at least 64 ounces of water every day. Every medication that you take passes through your kidneys and water helps to flush them out.

  • Drink a glass of cranberry juice every day while taking antibiotics. Cranberry juice helps to flush out kidneys and prevent bacteria from growing in the urinary tract which can increase your risk for kidney damage.

  • Cut back on salt, caffeine drinks and alcohol while taking antibiotics. All of these substances are hard on the kidneys and can reduce their ability to filter your urine.

  • Avoid acetaminophen and pain killers while on antibiotics. Acetaminophen is found in many over the counter products, including Tylenol, and is always hard on the kidneys. Avoiding acetaminophen and pain killers while on antibiotics will reduce the strain on your kidneys to filter out the antibiotics, thus reducing your risk of kidney damage.

  • Monitor your blood pressure more frequently while on antibiotics and follow your physician's orders on steps to decrease your blood pressure. High blood pressure can cause kidney damage.

  • Monitor your blood sugar more frequently while taking antibiotics if you have diabetes. Many antibiotics can increase your blood sugar levels, and increased blood sugar levels can cause kidney damage.

  • Do not smoke cigarettes while taking antibiotics. Smoking is always toxic to the kidneys, but especially when you are taking medications that your kidneys need to filter out of your blood.

  • Visit your physician to discuss your options to prevent kidney damage. Aminoglycosides are a class of antibiotic drugs that are especially toxic to the kidneys. Ask him to avoid these if possible. Tell him of any herbal or over the counter medications that you are taking to prevent increased risk of kidney damage. Your doctor can administer simple urine and blood tests to assess your kidney function. He may prescribe ACE inhibitors to help protect your kidneys. ACE inhibitors are a blood pressure medicine, but may prevent kidney damage even if you do not have high blood pressure.

Tips & Warnings

  • Exercising for 30 minutes at least three times a week may help keep your kidneys healthy. Additionally, eating healthy foods such as vegetables, fresh fruits and grains will help to prevent kidney damage.
  • If you experience any adverse side effects from antibiotics, call your physician right away. If you experience any symptoms of kidney damage such as darkened skin, foul odor to the urine, muscle cramps, extreme fatigue and feeling the need to urinate frequently, you should call your physician or visit your local emergency room immediately.

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