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Medicines That Can Cause Acute Kidney Injury

Topic Overview

Many medicines can cause acute kidney injury, also called acute renal failure. Examples include:

  • Antibiotics , such as aminoglycosides, cephalosporins, amphotericin B, bacitracin, and vancomycin.
  • Blood pressure medicines called ACE inhibitors (such as lisinopril and ramipril) and angiotensin receptor blockers (such as candesartan and valsartan).
  • Medicines used for cancer treatment (chemotherapy), such as cisplatin, carboplatin, and methotrexate.
  • Dyes (contrast media) used in medical imaging tests.
  • Illegal drugs, such as heroin and methamphetamine.
  • Medicines used to treat HIV (protease inhibitors), such as indinavir and ritonavir.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as ibuprofen, ketoprofen, or naproxen.
  • Ulcer medicines, such as cimetidine.

Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label. Make sure every doctor you see knows about all of the medicines, vitamins, or herbal supplements you take. This means anything you take with or without a prescription.

Other chemicals, such as insecticides, herbicides, and ethylene glycol, can also cause acute kidney injury.


By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Tushar J. Vachharajani, MD, FASN, FACP - Nephrology
Last Revised May 8, 2013

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