A new study caries a warning to NSAID users, particularly young people. The study shows overusing non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs can increase the risk of acute kidney injury and chronic kidney disease in active younger and middle aged adults.
NSAIDs are pain relievers and also reduce inflammation. They work by preventing an enzyme, a protein triggering changes in the body, from carrying out its intended purpose. The specific enzyme is called cyclooxygenase, COX, and has two forms, COX-1 and COX-2.
COX-1 protects the stomach lining from harsh acids and digestive chemicals, in addition to helping kidneys perform their function. COX-2 is created by the body when joints are injured or become inflamed. The most common NSAIDs are aspirin and ibuprofen.
Most NSAIDs block both COX-1 and COX-2, causing a person’s stomach to become upset and cause bleeding. The study looked at 764,228 active-duty US soldiers (85.8% male; median age 27 years). 17.9% of the soldiers were recorded as having received 1 to 7 defined daily doses of NSAIDs per month.
Another 16.3% received more than 7 doses per month. Researchers found 2356 cases of acute kidney injury and 1634 new cases of chronic kidney disease had occurred occurred. The kidneys are used to filter blood of toxins and waste and release them through urine.
When one or both kidneys have reduced function or no function at all, a person has acute kidney injury. When the kidneys do not perform their intended function, waste and toxins begin to build up in the blood stream and body and cause organ damage and failure.
The research shows taking more than 7 NSAID doses per month compared with no doses leads to a 20% increased risk of both acute kidney injury and chronic kidney disease. Higher NSAID use was associated with an additional 17.6 and 30 cases per 100,000 people each year.
African-Americans had a 1.6-and 2.3-fold higher risk for acute kidney injury and chronic kidney disease than caucasians. Risk of kidney damage by NSAIDs is also increased by medical conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, rhabdomyolysis, and obesity. In addition, age plays a major role.
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