In addition to their prescribed medications, many people with kidney disease use non-prescription medications from time to time.
Before using any non-prescription medicine, however, it is important to know if that product might interact with your prescription medication, and what effect it might have on your medical condition.
Always read the label of non-prescription drugs and use only as directed. If you don’t understand the directions or are unsure about whether the medicine is right for you, ask a pharmacist and tell them that you have kidney disease.
The following information will help you to choose among some products used for treating common minor ailments. If you don’t find the information you need below, or if you have any questions, talk to your doctor and/or a pharmacist.
There are many herbal medications on the market. However, most have not undergone rigorous scientific testing to prove their claims. Many of these medications are safe to take in recommended doses. A few, however, can increase blood pressure, leading to possible complications for people with kidney disease. Never start an herbal medication before consulting your renal doctor or pharmacist. Herbals are poorly regulated in Canada and can actually contain enough impurities to cause harm.
There are few things you can do that are more effective at improving health than quitting smoking. However, quitting can be difficult and can be helped by using a strategy. Pick a start date and muster the support of people close to you. There are also medications to help you quit smoking. You will be more successful if this is only part of an overall plan. Common medications include nicotine in the form of a gum, a patch or an inhaler. To improve your chances for success, discuss your plan to quit with your doctor, pharmacist or social worker.
If you smoke and would like to quit, please refer to:
BC Smoking Cessation Program - https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/health-drug-coverage/pharmacare-for-bc-residents/what-we-cover/bc-smoking-cessation-program
If you are going for a special x-ray such as a CT scan or angiogram, talk with your kidney doctor or nurse. They will suggest ways to help protect your kidneys. Some contrast dyes can damage the kidneys.
For people with diabetes, foot care is particularly important, including regular foot hygiene. Be especially careful with non-prescription products that treat warts, corns and calluses as they contain caustic substances which break down the integrity of the skin and increase the risk of infection. Don't use these products without advice from either a podiatrist or doctor. Any product that might damage the skin of your feet should be left to your doctor to prescribe and supervise.
*The information in our patient handout materials are provided for educational/information purposes, and to support discussion with your health care team about your medical condition and treatment. It does not constitute medical advice and should not substitute for advice given by your physician or other qualified health care professional.