The use of over-the-counter analgesics in patients with chronic kidney disease
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Background Analgesics can be sold following medical prescription, but also as over-the-counter (OTC) medications. In patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), their use could potentially be associated with increased risk of side-effects, due to impaired renal elimination. The aim was to evaluate the epidemiology and indications for the use of OTC analgesics, and the knowledge of their side-effects in patients with CKD. Material and methods A cross-sectional, controlled survey on the use of OTC analgesic drugs was conducted among 180 CKD patients (stage 1-5, dialysis, kidney transplant), compared to 60 controls. Results The proportion of patients using OTC analgesics on a regular basis was higher in the CKD group, compared to controls (18.9% vs. 10.0%, p<0.02). The major indications included musculoskeletal issues, followed by headaches and other. Subgroup analysis revealed that analgesic use was lowest among transplanted patients, in comparison to CKD stage 1-5, and dialysis subjects (10%, 20%, 26%, respectively, p=0.06). Less than half of CKD patients and controls declared any knowledge on potential side-effects of analgesic drugs (45.6% vs. 40.0%, NS). Conclusions The use of OTC analgesics among patients with CKD is higher than in subjects without CKD, with the exception of transplanted patients. The knowledge on the potential side-effect of analgesics is limited.
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