Drug Dosing Adjustments in Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease



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Am Fam Physician. 2007 May 15;75(10):1487-1496.

ACF  This article exemplifies the AAFP 2007 Annual Clinical Focus on management of chronic illness.

Chronic kidney disease affects renal drug elimination and other pharmacokinetic processes involved in drug disposition (e.g., absorption, drug distribution, nonrenal clearance [metabolism]). Drug dosing errors are common in patients with renal impairment and can cause adverse effects and poor outcomes. Dosages of drugs cleared renally should be adjusted according to creatinine clearance or glomerular filtration rate and should be calculated using online or electronic calculators. Recommended methods for maintenance dosing adjustments are dose reductions, lengthening the dosing interval, or both. Physicians should be familiar with commonly used medications that require dosage adjustments. Resources are available to assist in dosing decisions for patients with chronic kidney disease.

The National Kidney Foundation Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative (K/DOQI) definition of chronic kidney disease is the presence of kidney damage or a reduction in the glomerular filtration rate (GFR) for three months or longer. The K/DOQI chronic kidney disease staging system (Table 1) is based on GFR.1

SORT: KEY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PRACTICE

Clinical recommendation Evidence rating References

In patients with chronic kidney disease, over-the-counter and herbal medicine use should be assessed to ensure that medications are indicated; medications with toxic metabolites should be avoided, the least nephrotoxic agents should be used, and alternative medications should be used if potential drug interactions exist.

C

17,21,25,30,36,43

Physicians should be aware of drugs with active metabolites that can exaggerate pharmacologic effects in patients with renal impairment.

C

25

Dosages of drugs cleared renally should be adjusted based on the patient's renal function (calculated as creatinine clearance or glomerular filtration rate); initial dosages should be determined using published guidelines and adjusted based on patient response; serum drug concentrations should be used to monitor effectiveness and toxicity when appropriate.

C

1,4


A = consistent, good-quality patient-oriented evidence; B = inconsistent or limited-quality patient-oriented evidence; C = consensus, diseaseoriented evidence, usual practice, expert opinion, or case series. For information about the SORT evidence rating system, see page 1430 or http://www.aafp.org/afpsort.xml.

SORT: KEY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PRACTICE

View Table

SORT: KEY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PRACTICE

Clinical recommendation Evidence rating References

In patients with chronic kidney disease, over-the-counter and herbal medicine use should be assessed to ensure that medications are indicated; medications with toxic metabolites should be avoided, the least nephrotoxic agents should be used, and alternative medications should be used if potential drug interactions exist.

C

17,21,25,30,36,43

Physicians should be aware of drugs with active metabolites that can exaggerate pharmacologic effects in patients with renal impairment.

C

25

Dosages of drugs cleared renally should be adjusted based on the patient's renal function (calculated as creatinine clearance or glomerular filtration rate); initial dosages should be determined using published guidelines and adjusted based on patient response; serum drug concentrations should be used to monitor effectiveness and toxicity when appropriate.

C

1,4


A = consistent, good-quality patient-oriented evidence; B = inconsistent or limited-quality patient-oriented evidence; C = consensus, diseaseoriented evidence, usual practice, expert opinion, or case series. For information about the SORT evidence rating system, see page 1430 or http://www.aafp.org/afpsort.xml.

Table 1

National Kidney Foundation K/DOQI Staging System for Chronic Kidney Disease

Stage Description GFR (mL per minute per 1.73 m2)

1

Kidney damage with normal or increased GFR

≥ 90

2

Kidney damage with a mild decrease in GFR

60 to 89

3

Moderate decrease in GFR

30 to 59

4

Severe decrease in GFR

15 to 29

5

Kidney failure

< 15 (or dialysis)


note:Chronic kidney disease is defined as the presence of kidney damage or a reduction in GFR for a period of three months or longer.

K/DOQI = Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative; GFR = glomerular filtration rate.

Adapted with permission from National Kidney Foundation. K/DOQI clinical practice guidelines for chronic kidney disease: evaluation, classification, and stratification. Am J Kidney Dis 2002;39(2 suppl 1):S46.

Table 1   National Kidney Foundation K/DOQI Staging System for Chronic Kidney Disease

View Table

Table 1

National Kidney Foundation K/DOQI Staging System for Chronic Kidney Disease

Stage Description GFR (mL per minute per 1.73 m2)

1

Kidney damage with normal or increased GFR

≥ 90

2

Kidney damage with a mild decrease in GFR

60 to 89

3

Moderate decrease in GFR

30 to 59

4

Severe decrease in GFR

15 to 29

5

Kidney failure

< 15 (or dialysis)


note:Chronic kidney disease is defined as the presence of kidney damage or a reduction in GFR for a period of three months or longer.

K/DOQI = Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative; GFR = glomerular filtration rate.

Adapted with permission from National Kidney Foundation. K/DOQI clinical practice guidelines for chronic kidney disease: evaluation, classification, and stratification. Am J Kidney Dis 2002;39(2 suppl 1):S46.

Inappropriate dosing in patients with chronic kidney disease can cause toxicity or ineffective therapy. In particular, older patients are at a higher risk of developing advanced disease and related adverse events caused by age-related decline in renal function and the use of multiple medications to treat comorbid conditions. Chronic kidney disease can affect glomerular blood flow and filtration, tubular secretion and reabsorption, and renal bioactivation and metabolism. Drug absorption, bioavailability, protein binding, distribution volume, and nonrenal clearance (metabolism) also can be altered in these patients. Physicians should pay careful attention when considering drug therapies with active or toxic metabolites that can accumulate and contribute to exaggerated pharmacologic effects or adverse drug reactions in patients with chronic kidney disease. Table 2 includes resources for more information about dosing adjustments in patients with chronic kidney disease.

Table 2

Resources for More Information About Dosing Adjustments in Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease

Drug Prescribing in Renal Failure: Dosing Guidelines for Adults

Publisher: American College of Physicians

PDA download: http://acp.pdaorder.com/pdaorder/-/605920537541/item?oec-catalog-item-id=1028

FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition

Web site: http://www.fda.gov/food

FDA MedWatch

Web site: http://www.fda.gov/medwatch/index.html

Medline Plus (herbal medicine)

Web site: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/herbalmedicine.html

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Web site: http://www.nccam.nih.gov/

National Kidney Disease Education Program

Web site: http://www.nkdep.nih.gov

National Kidney Foundation

Web site: http://www.kidney.org/


PDA = personal digital assistant; FDA = U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Table 2   Resources for More Information About Dosing Adjustments in Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease

View Table

Table 2

Resources for More Information About Dosing Adjustments in Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease

Drug Prescribing in Renal Failure: Dosing Guidelines for Adults

Publisher: American College of Physicians

PDA download: http://acp.pdaorder.com/pdaorder/-/605920537541/item?oec-catalog-item-id=1028

FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition

Web site: http://www.fda.gov/food

FDA MedWatch

Web site: http://www.fda.gov/medwatch/index.html

Medline Plus (herbal medicine)

Web site: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/herbalmedicine.html

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Web site: http://www.nccam.nih.gov/

National Kidney Disease Education Program

Web site: http://www.nkdep.nih.gov

National Kidney Foundation

Web site: http://www.kidney.org/


PDA = personal digital assistant; FDA = U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Estimating GFR and Creatinine Clearance

Dosages of drugs cleared renally are based on renal function (calculated as GFR or creatinine clearance; Table 3). These calculations are valid only when renal function is stable and the serum creatinine level is constant.

The K/DOQI clinical practice guideline advocates using the traditional Cockcroft-Gault equation or the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease (MDRD) study equation (full or abbreviated) for routine estimation of GFR.1 However, in patients with a GFR lower than 60 mL per minute per 1.73 m2, the MDRD equation has been shown to be superior to the Cockcroft-Gault equation.2

Because the production and excretion of creatinine declines with age, normal serum creatinine values may not represent normal renal function in older patients. The MDRD equation has been shown to be the best method for detecting a GFR lower than 90 mL per minute per 1.73 m2 in older patients.3

Table 3

Equations for Predicting Creatinine Clearance or GFR in Adults with Kidney Disease

Equation Variables Sources

Cockcroft-Gault

Age, weight, sex, serum creatinine

Nephron Information Center Web site: http://www.nephron.com/cgi-bin/CGSI.cgi

Modification of Diet in Renal Disease

Age, sex, race, serum urea nitrogen, serum albumin, serum creatinine

National Kidney Disease Education Program Web site: http://www.nkdep.nih.gov/professionals/gfr_calculators/index.htm

Nephron Information Center Web site: http://www.nephron.com/cgi-bin/MDRDSI.cgi


GFR = glomerular filtration rate; PDA = personal digital assistant.

Table 3   Equations for Predicting Creatinine Clearance or GFR in Adults with Kidney Disease

View Table

Table 3

Equations for Predicting Creatinine Clearance or GFR in Adults with Kidney Disease

Equation Variables Sources

Cockcroft-Gault

Age, weight, sex, serum creatinine

Nephron Information Center Web site: http://www.nephron.com/cgi-bin/CGSI.cgi

Modification of Diet in Renal Disease

Age, sex, race, serum urea nitrogen, serum albumin, serum creatinine

National Kidney Disease Education Program Web site: http://www.nkdep.nih.gov/professionals/gfr_calculators/index.htm

Nephron Information Center Web site: http://www.nephron.com/cgi-bin/MDRDSI.cgi


GFR = glomerular filtration rate; PDA = personal digital assistant.

Dosing Adjustments

Loading doses usually do not need to be adjusted in patients with chronic kidney disease. Published guidelines suggest methods for maintenance dosing adjustments: dose reduction, lengthening the dosing interval, or both.4 Dose reduction involves reducing each dose while maintaining the normal dosing interval. This approach maintains more constant drug concentrations, but it is associated with a higher risk of toxicities if the dosing interval is inadequate to allow for drug elimination. Normal doses are maintained with the extended interval method, but the dosing interval is lengthened to allow time for drug elimination before redosing. Lengthening the dosing interval has been associated with a lower risk of toxicities but a higher risk of subtherapeutic drug concentrations, especially toward the end of the dosing interval.

Dosing recommendations for individual drugs can be found in Drug Prescribing in Renal Failure: Dosing Guidelines for Adults.4 The guidelines are divided into three broad GFR categories (less than 10 mL per minute per 1.73 m2, 10 to 50 mL per minute per 1.73 m2, and more than 50 mL per minute per 1.73 m2), encompassing an up to 10-fold range in renal function. The guidelines do not correspond with the K/DOQI staging system; therefore, although they can be used for initial dosages, regimens must be individualized further based on patient response and serum drug concentrations.

ANTIHYPERTENSIVES

Drug dosing requirements for antihypertensives in patients with chronic kidney disease are listed in Table 4.4,5 Thiazide diuretics are first-line agents for treating uncomplicated hypertension,6 but they are not recommended if the serum creatinine level is higher than 2.5 mg per dL (220 μmol per L) or if the creatinine clearance is lower than 30 mL per minute.7,8 Loop diuretics are most commonly used to treat uncomplicated hypertension in patients with chronic kidney disease.6 Although the addition of aldosterone blockers (e.g., spironolactone [Aldactone], eplerenone [Inspra]) has been shown to reduce mortality in patients with severe heart failure,9,10 potassium-sparing diuretics and aldosterone blockers should be avoided in patients with severe chronic kidney disease because of the rise in serum potassium that typically accompanies renal dysfunction.1113

Table 4

Antihypertensive Agents: Dosing Requirements in Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease

Drug Usual dosage* Dosage adjustment (percentage of usual dosage) based on GFR (mL per minute per 1.73 m2)
> 50 10 to 50 < 10

ACE inhibitors

Benazepril (Lotensin)

10 mg daily

100%

50 to 75%

25 to 50%

Captopril (Capoten)

25 mg every 8 hours

100%

75%

50%

Enalapril (Vasotec)

5 to 10 mg every 12 hours

100%

75 to 100%

50%

Fosinopril (Monopril)‡

10 mg daily

100%

100%

75 to 100%

Lisinopril (Zestril)

5 to 10 mg daily

100%

50 to 75%

25 to 50%

Quinapril (Accupril)

10 to 20 mg daily

100%

75 to 100%

75%

Ramipril (Altace)5

5 to 10 mg daily

100%

50 to 75%

25 to 50%

Beta blockers

Acebutolol (Sectral)

400 to 600 mg once or twice daily

100%

50%

30 to 50%

Atenolol (Tenormin)

5 to 100 mg daily

100%

50%

25%

Bisoprolol (Zebeta)§

10 mg daily

100%

75%

50%

Nadolol (Corgard)5

40 to 80 mg daily

100%

50%

25%

Diuretics

Amiloride (Midamor)

5 mg daily

100%

50%

Avoid

Bumetanide (Bumex)5

No adjustment needed

Furosemide (Lasix)5

No adjustment needed

Metolazone (Zaroxolyn)

No adjustment needed

Spironolactone (Aldactone)5

50 to 100 mg daily

Every 6 to 12 hours

Every 12 to 24 hours

Avoid

Thiazides|

25 to 50 mg daily

100%

100%

Avoid

Torsemide (Demadex)5

No adjustment needed

Triamterene (Dyrenium)

50 to 100 twice daily

100%

100%

Avoid


GFR = glomerular filtration rate; ACE = angiotensin-converting enzyme.

*—Table provides general dosing information; dosages may be different for specific indications.

† —May need to use lower initial doses in patients receiving diuretics.

‡—Less likely than other ACE inhibitors to accumulate in patients with renal failure. A fixed-dose combination with hydrochlorothiazide should not be used in patients with a creatinine clearance less than 30 mL per minute (0.5 mL per second).

§—Maximal dosage in patients with renal impairment is 10 mg daily.

|—Thiazides should not be used in patients with a creatinine clearance less than 30 mL per minute; however, thiazides are effective in these patients when used with loop diuretics.

Information from references 4 and 5.

Table 4   Antihypertensive Agents: Dosing Requirements in Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease

View Table

Table 4

Antihypertensive Agents: Dosing Requirements in Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease

Drug Usual dosage* Dosage adjustment (percentage of usual dosage) based on GFR (mL per minute per 1.73 m2)
> 50 10 to 50 < 10

ACE inhibitors

Benazepril (Lotensin)

10 mg daily

100%

50 to 75%

25 to 50%

Captopril (Capoten)

25 mg every 8 hours

100%

75%

50%

Enalapril (Vasotec)

5 to 10 mg every 12 hours

100%

75 to 100%

50%

Fosinopril (Monopril)‡

10 mg daily

100%

100%

75 to 100%

Lisinopril (Zestril)

5 to 10 mg daily

100%

50 to 75%

25 to 50%

Quinapril (Accupril)

10 to 20 mg daily

100%

75 to 100%

75%

Ramipril (Altace)5

5 to 10 mg daily

100%

50 to 75%

25 to 50%

Beta blockers

Acebutolol (Sectral)

400 to 600 mg once or twice daily

100%

50%

30 to 50%

Atenolol (Tenormin)

5 to 100 mg daily

100%

50%

25%

Bisoprolol (Zebeta)§

10 mg daily

100%

75%

50%

Nadolol (Corgard)5

40 to 80 mg daily

100%

50%

25%

Diuretics

Amiloride (Midamor)

5 mg daily

100%

50%

Avoid

Bumetanide (Bumex)5

No adjustment needed

Furosemide (Lasix)5

No adjustment needed

Metolazone (Zaroxolyn)

No adjustment needed

Spironolactone (Aldactone)5

50 to 100 mg daily

Every 6 to 12 hours

Every 12 to 24 hours

Avoid

Thiazides|

25 to 50 mg daily

100%

100%

Avoid

Torsemide (Demadex)5

No adjustment needed

Triamterene (Dyrenium)

50 to 100 twice daily

100%

100%

Avoid


GFR = glomerular filtration rate; ACE = angiotensin-converting enzyme.

*—Table provides general dosing information; dosages may be different for specific indications.

† —May need to use lower initial doses in patients receiving diuretics.

‡—Less likely than other ACE inhibitors to accumulate in patients with renal failure. A fixed-dose combination with hydrochlorothiazide should not be used in patients with a creatinine clearance less than 30 mL per minute (0.5 mL per second).

§—Maximal dosage in patients with renal impairment is 10 mg daily.

|—Thiazides should not be used in patients with a creatinine clearance less than 30 mL per minute; however, thiazides are effective in these patients when used with loop diuretics.

Information from references 4 and 5.

Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) are first-line hypertensive agents for patients with type 1 or 2 diabetes mellitus and proteinuria or early chronic kidney disease.6 These agents reduce blood pressure and proteinuria, slow the progression of kidney disease, and provide long-term cardiovascular protection.

ACE inhibitors and ARBs inhibit the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system in patients with chronic kidney disease and in patients with normal baseline serum creatinine levels, causing efferent arteriolar dilation. This can cause an acute decline in GFR of more than 15 percent from baseline with proportional elevations in serum creatinine within the first week of initiating therapy.1416 This most commonly occurs in patients with congestive heart failure, in patients using concomitant diuretics or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and in patients receiving high doses of ACE inhibitors or ARBs. In most patients, ACE inhibitors and ARBs can be continued safely if the rise in serum creatinine is less than 30 percent. Typically, the level will return to baseline in four to six weeks.

A common practice is to discontinue ACE-inhibitor and ARB therapy when the serum creatinine level rises more than 30 percent or if the serum potassium level is 5.6 mEq per L (5.6 mmol per L) or higher.1416 Because of long-term renoprotective and cardioprotective effects, no patient should be denied an ACE-inhibitor or ARB trial without careful evaluation. Dosages should be titrated carefully and followed by weekly monitoring of renal function and potassium levels until values return to baseline.

Hydrophilic beta blockers (e.g., atenolol [Tenormin], bisoprolol [Zebeta], nadolol [Corgard], acebutolol [Sectral]) are eliminated renally and dosing adjustments are needed in patients with chronic kidney failure.7 However, metoprolol tartrate (Lopressor), metoprolol succinate (Toprol XL), propranolol (Inderal), and labetalol (Normodyne) are metabolized by the liver and adjustments are not required. Other antihypertensive agents that do not require dosing adjustments include calcium channel blockers, clonidine (Catapres), and alpha blockers.17

HYPOGLYCEMIC AGENTS

Drug dosing requirements for hypoglycemic agents in patients with chronic kidney disease are listed in Table 5.4,18,19 Because metformin (Glucophage) is 90 to 100 percent renally excreted,18 its use is not recommended when the serum creatinine level is higher than 1.5 mg per dL (130 μmol per L) in men or higher than 1.4 mg per dL (120 μmol per L) in women, in patients older than 80 years, or in patients with chronic heart failure.19 The primary concern about the use of metformin in patients with renal insufficiency is that other hypoxemic conditions (e.g., acute myocardial infarction, severe infection, respiratory disease, liver disease) increase the risk of lactic acidosis. Physicians may be apprehensive to maximize the use of metformin in appropriate patients because of these contraindications.

Table 5

Hypoglycemic Agents: Dosing Requirements in Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease

Drug Usual dosage* Special considerations

Acarbose (Precose)

Maximum: 50 to 100 mg three times daily

Lack of data in patients with a serum creatinine level higher than 2 mg per dL (180 μmol per L); therefore, acarbose should be avoided in these patients18

Chlorpropamide (Diabinese)

100 to 500 mg daily

Avoid in patients with a glomerular filtration rate less than 50 mL per minute because of the increased risk of hypoglycemia19

Glipizide (Glucotrol)

5 mg daily

Dosage adjustment not necessary in patients with renal impairment

Glyburide (Micronase)

2.5 to 5 mg daily

50 percent of the active metabolite is excreted via the kidney, creating a potential for severe hypoglycemia; not recommended when creatinine clearance is less than 50 mL per minute (0.83 mL per second)18

Metformin (Glucophage)

500 mg twice daily

Avoid if serum creatinine level is higher than 1.5 mg per dL (130 μmol per L) in men or higher than 1.4 mg per dL (120 μmol per L) in women, and in patients older than 80

Metformin (extended release)

500 mg daily

years or with chronic heart failure; fixed-dose combination with metformin should be used carefully in renal impairment; metformin should be temporarily discontinued for 24 to 48 hours before use of iodinated contrast agents, not restarted for 48 hours afterward, and then restarted only when renal function has normalized19


*—Table provides general dosing information; dosages may be different for specific indications.

Information from references 4, 18, and 19.

Table 5   Hypoglycemic Agents: Dosing Requirements in Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease

View Table

Table 5

Hypoglycemic Agents: Dosing Requirements in Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease

Drug Usual dosage* Special considerations

Acarbose (Precose)

Maximum: 50 to 100 mg three times daily

Lack of data in patients with a serum creatinine level higher than 2 mg per dL (180 μmol per L); therefore, acarbose should be avoided in these patients18

Chlorpropamide (Diabinese)

100 to 500 mg daily

Avoid in patients with a glomerular filtration rate less than 50 mL per minute because of the increased risk of hypoglycemia19

Glipizide (Glucotrol)

5 mg daily

Dosage adjustment not necessary in patients with renal impairment

Glyburide (Micronase)

2.5 to 5 mg daily

50 percent of the active metabolite is excreted via the kidney, creating a potential for severe hypoglycemia; not recommended when creatinine clearance is less than 50 mL per minute (0.83 mL per second)18

Metformin (Glucophage)

500 mg twice daily

Avoid if serum creatinine level is higher than 1.5 mg per dL (130 μmol per L) in men or higher than 1.4 mg per dL (120 μmol per L) in women, and in patients older than 80

Metformin (extended release)

500 mg daily

years or with chronic heart failure; fixed-dose combination with metformin should be used carefully in renal impairment; metformin should be temporarily discontinued for 24 to 48 hours before use of iodinated contrast agents, not restarted for 48 hours afterward, and then restarted only when renal function has normalized19


*—Table provides general dosing information; dosages may be different for specific indications.

Information from references 4, 18, and 19.

A Cochrane review showed that lactic acidosis did not occur in the more than 20,000 patients with type 2 diabetes studied (patients with standard contraindications to metformin were not included).20 Rather than avoid the drug completely in patients with chronic kidney disease, it would be reasonable to start with a low dose in these patients and titrate, with close monitoring, based on patient response and tolerability. A more common practice is to temporarily discontinue metformin therapy in patients at a higher risk of lactic acidosis, such as patients who become septic.

Sulfonylureas (e.g., chlorpropamide [Diabinese], glyburide [Micronase]) should be avoided in patients with stages 3 to 5 chronic kidney disease.18 The half-life of chlorpropamide is significantly increased in these patients, which can cause severe hypoglycemia.18 Glyburide has an active metabolite that is eliminated renally, and accumulation of this metabolite can cause prolonged hypoglycemia in patients with chronic kidney disease.18 Glipizide, however, does not have an active metabolite and is safe in these patients.18

ANTIMICROBIALS

Many antimicrobial agents (Table 64,21) are eliminated renally and require dosing adjustments in patients with chronic kidney disease; however, several commonly used agents do not require adjustments.21

Table 6

Antimicrobial Agents: Dosing Requirements in Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease

Drug Usual dosage Dosage adjustment (percentage of usual dosage) based on GFR (mL per minute per 1.73 m2)
> 50 10 to 50 < 10

Antifungals

Fluconazole (Diflucan)

200 to 400 mg every 24 hours

100%

50%

50%

Itraconazole (Sporanox)

100 to 200 mg every 12 hours

100%

100%

50% (IV form is contraindicated)

Ketoconazole (Nizoral)

No adjustment needed

Miconazole (Monistat)

No adjustment needed

Antivirals

Acyclovir IV (Zovirax)*

5 to 10 mg per kg every 8 hours

100%

100% every 12 to 24 hours

50% every 12 to 24 hours

Acyclovir (oral)

200 to 800 mg every 4 to 12 hours

100%

100%

200 mg every 12 hours

Valacyclovir (Valtrex)

500 mg every 12 hours to 1,000 mg every 8 hours, depending on indication

100%

100% every 12 to 24 hours

500 mg every 24 hours

Carbapenems

Ertapenem (Invanz)

1 g every 24 hours

100%

100%

50%

Imipenem

0.25 to 1 g every 6 hours

100%

50%

25%

Meropenem (Merrem)

1 to 2 g every 8 hours

100%

50% every 12 hours

50% every 24 hours (GFR < 20)

Cephalosporins

Cefaclor (Ceclor)

250 to 500 mg every 8 hours

100%

50 to 100%

50%

Cefadroxil (Duricef)

0.5 to 1 g every 12 hours

100%

Every 12 to 24 hours

Every 36 hours

Cefamandole (Mandol)

0.5 to 1 g every 4 to 8 hours

Every 6 hours

Every 6 to 8 hours

Every 8 to 12 hours

Cefazolin (Ancef)

0.25 to 2 g every 6 hours

Every 8 hours

Every 12 hours

50% every 24 to 48 hours

Cefepime (Maxipime)

0.25 to 2 g every 8 to 12 hours

100%

50 to 100% every 24 hours

25 to 50% every 24 hours

Cefixime (Suprax)

200 mg every 12 hours

100%

75%

50%

Cefoperazone (Cefobid)

No adjustment needed

Cefotaxime (Claforan)

1 to 2 g every 6 to 12 hours

Every 6 hours

Every 6 to 12 hours

Every 24 hours or 50%

Cefotetan (Cefotan)

1 to 2 g every 12 hours

100%

Every 24 hours

Every 48 hours

Cefoxitin (Mefoxin)

1 to 2 g every 6 to 8 hours

Every 6 to 8 hours

Every 8 to 12 hours

Every 24 to 48 hours

Cefpodoxime (Vantin)

100 to 400 mg every 12 hours

Every 12 hours

Every 24 hours

Every 24 hours

Cefprozil (Cefzil)

250 to 500 mg every 12 hours

100%

50% every 12 hours

50% every 12 hours

Ceftazidime (Fortaz)

1 to 2 g every 8 hours

Every 8 to 12 hours

Every 12 to 24 hours

Every 24 to 48 hours

Ceftibuten (Cedax)

400 mg every 24 hours

100%

25 to 50%

25 to 50%

Ceftizoxime (Cefizox)

1 to 2 g every 8 to 12 hours

Every 8 to 12 hours

Every 12 to 24 hours

Every 24 hours

Ceftriaxone (Rocephin)

No adjustment needed

Cefuroxime axetil (Ceftin)

No adjustment needed

Cefuroxime sodium (Zinacef)

0.75 to 1.5 g every 8 hours

Every 8 hours

Every 8 to 12 hours

Every 12 hours

Cephalexin (Keflex)

250 to 500 mg every 6 to 8 hours

Every 8 hours

Every 8 to 12 hours

Every 12 to 24 hours

Cephradine (Velosef)

0.25 to 1 g every 6 to 12 hours

100%

50%

25%

Macrolides

Azithromycin (Zithromax)

No adjustment needed

Clarithromycin (Biaxin)

250 to 500 mg every 12 hours (Biaxin); 1 g daily (Biaxin XL)

100%

50 to 100%

50%

Dirithromycin

No adjustment needed

Erythromycin

No adjustment needed

Penicillins

Amoxicillin

250 to 500 mg every 8 hours

Every 8 hours

Every 8 to 12 hours

Every 24 hours

Ampicillin

0.25 to 2 g every 6 hours

Every 6 hours

Every 6 to 12 hours

Every 12 to 24 hours

Ampicillin/sulbactam (Unasyn)

1 to 2 g ampicillin and 0.5 to 1 g sulbactam every 6 to 8 hours

100% (GFR ≥ 30)

Every 12 hours (GFR 15 to 29)

Every 24 hours (GFR 5 to 14)

Carbenicillin (Geocillin), 382-mg tablet

1 or 2 tablets every 6 hours

Every 6 to 12 hours

Every 12 to 24 hours

Every 24 to 48 hours

Carbenicillin IV (not available in the United States)

200 to 500 mg per kg per day, continuous infusion or in divided doses

Every 8 to 12 hours

Every 12 to 24 hours

Every 24 to 48 hours

Dicloxacillin (Dynapen)

No adjustment needed

Nafcillin

No adjustment needed

Penicillin G

0.5 to 4 million U every 4 to 6 hours

100%

75%

20 to 50%

Penicillin VK

No adjustment needed

Piperacillin

3 to 4 g every 6 hours

Every 6 hours

Every 6 to 12 hours

Every 12 hours

Piperacillin/tazobactam (Zosyn)

3.375 to 4.5 g every 6 to 8 hours

100%

2.25 g every 6 hours; every 8 hours (GFR < 20)

2.25 g every 8 hours

Ticarcillin

3 g every 4 hours

1 to 2 g every 4 hours

1 to 2 g every 8 hours

1 to 2 g every 12 hours

Ticarcillin/clavulanate (Timentin)

3.1 g every 4 hours

100%

Every 8 to 12 hours

2 g every 12 hours

Quinolones

Ciprofloxacin (Cipro)

400 mg IV or 500 to 750 mg orally every 12 hours

100%

50 to 75%

50%

Gatifloxacin (Tequin)

400 mg every 24 hours

100%

400 mg initially, then 200 mg daily

400 mg initially, then 200 mg daily

Gemifloxacin (Factive)

320 mg every 24 hours

100%

50 to 100%

50%

Levofloxacin (Levaquin)

250 to 750 mg every 24 hours

100%

500 to 750 mg initial dose, then 250 to 750 mg every 24 to 48 hours

500 mg initial dose, then 250 to 500 mg every 48 hours

Moxifloxacin (Avelox)

No adjustment needed

Norfloxacin (Noroxin)

400 mg every 12 hours

Every 12 hours

Every 12 to 24 hours

Avoid

Ofloxacin (Floxin)

200 to 400 mg every 12 hours

100%

200 to 400 mg every 24 hours

200 mg every 24 hours

Trovafloxacin (not available in the United States)

No adjustment needed

Sulfas

Sulfamethoxazole (Gantanol)

1 g every 8 to 12 hours

Every 12 hours

Every 18 hours

Every 24 hours

Sulfisoxazole (Gantrisin)

1 to 2 g every 6 hours

Every 6 hours

Every 8 to 12 hours

Every 12 to 24 hours

Trimethoprim (Proloprim)

100 mg every 12 hours

Every 12 hours

Every 12 hours (GFR > 30); every 18 hours (GFR 10 to 30)

Every 24 hours

Tetracyclines

Doxycycline (Vibramycin)

No adjustment needed

Tetracycline

250 to 500 mg two to four times daily

Every 8 to 12 hours

Every 12 to 24 hours

Every 24 hours

Other

Chloramphenicol (Chloromycetin)

No adjustment needed

Clindamycin (Cleocin)

No adjustment needed

Dalfopristin/quinupristin (Synercid)

No adjustment needed

Linezolid (Zyvox)

No adjustment needed

Nitrofurantoin (Furadantin)

500 to 1,000 mg every 6 hours

100%

Avoid

Avoid

Telithromycin (Ketek)

No adjustment needed


GFR = glomerular filtration rate; IV = intravenous.

*—To avoid nephrotoxicity it is recommended that the patient have a daily urine output of 1 mL for every 1.3 mg of acyclovir administered.

Adapted with permission from Livornese LL Jr, Slavin D, Gilbert B, Robbins P, Santoro J. Use of antibacterial agents in renal failure. Infect Dis Clin North Am 2004;18:556–67, with additional information from reference4.

Table 6   Antimicrobial Agents: Dosing Requirements in Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease

View Table

Table 6

Antimicrobial Agents: Dosing Requirements in Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease

Drug Usual dosage Dosage adjustment (percentage of usual dosage) based on GFR (mL per minute per 1.73 m2)
> 50 10 to 50 < 10

Antifungals

Fluconazole (Diflucan)

200 to 400 mg every 24 hours

100%

50%

50%

Itraconazole (Sporanox)

100 to 200 mg every 12 hours

100%

100%

50% (IV form is contraindicated)

Ketoconazole (Nizoral)

No adjustment needed

Miconazole (Monistat)

No adjustment needed

Antivirals

Acyclovir IV (Zovirax)*

5 to 10 mg per kg every 8 hours

100%

100% every 12 to 24 hours

50% every 12 to 24 hours

Acyclovir (oral)

200 to 800 mg every 4 to 12 hours

100%

100%

200 mg every 12 hours

Valacyclovir (Valtrex)

500 mg every 12 hours to 1,000 mg every 8 hours, depending on indication

100%

100% every 12 to 24 hours

500 mg every 24 hours

Carbapenems

Ertapenem (Invanz)

1 g every 24 hours

100%

100%

50%

Imipenem

0.25 to 1 g every 6 hours

100%

50%

25%

Meropenem (Merrem)

1 to 2 g every 8 hours

100%

50% every 12 hours

50% every 24 hours (GFR < 20)

Cephalosporins

Cefaclor (Ceclor)

250 to 500 mg every 8 hours

100%

50 to 100%

50%

Cefadroxil (Duricef)

0.5 to 1 g every 12 hours

100%

Every 12 to 24 hours

Every 36 hours

Cefamandole (Mandol)

0.5 to 1 g every 4 to 8 hours

Every 6 hours

Every 6 to 8 hours

Every 8 to 12 hours

Cefazolin (Ancef)

0.25 to 2 g every 6 hours

Every 8 hours

Every 12 hours

50% every 24 to 48 hours

Cefepime (Maxipime)

0.25 to 2 g every 8 to 12 hours

100%

50 to 100% every 24 hours

25 to 50% every 24 hours

Cefixime (Suprax)

200 mg every 12 hours

100%

75%

50%

Cefoperazone (Cefobid)

No adjustment needed

Cefotaxime (Claforan)

1 to 2 g every 6 to 12 hours

Every 6 hours

Every 6 to 12 hours

Every 24 hours or 50%

Cefotetan (Cefotan)

1 to 2 g every 12 hours

100%

Every 24 hours

Every 48 hours

Cefoxitin (Mefoxin)

1 to 2 g every 6 to 8 hours

Every 6 to 8 hours

Every 8 to 12 hours

Every 24 to 48 hours

Cefpodoxime (Vantin)

100 to 400 mg every 12 hours

Every 12 hours

Every 24 hours

Every 24 hours

Cefprozil (Cefzil)

250 to 500 mg every 12 hours

100%

50% every 12 hours

50% every 12 hours

Ceftazidime (Fortaz)

1 to 2 g every 8 hours

Every 8 to 12 hours

Every 12 to 24 hours

Every 24 to 48 hours

Ceftibuten (Cedax)

400 mg every 24 hours

100%

25 to 50%

25 to 50%

Ceftizoxime (Cefizox)

1 to 2 g every 8 to 12 hours

Every 8 to 12 hours

Every 12 to 24 hours

Every 24 hours

Ceftriaxone (Rocephin)

No adjustment needed

Cefuroxime axetil (Ceftin)

No adjustment needed

Cefuroxime sodium (Zinacef)

0.75 to 1.5 g every 8 hours

Every 8 hours

Every 8 to 12 hours

Every 12 hours

Cephalexin (Keflex)

250 to 500 mg every 6 to 8 hours

Every 8 hours

Every 8 to 12 hours

Every 12 to 24 hours

Cephradine (Velosef)

0.25 to 1 g every 6 to 12 hours

100%

50%

25%

Macrolides

Azithromycin (Zithromax)

No adjustment needed

Clarithromycin (Biaxin)

250 to 500 mg every 12 hours (Biaxin); 1 g daily (Biaxin XL)

100%

50 to 100%

50%

Dirithromycin

No adjustment needed

Erythromycin

No adjustment needed

Penicillins

Amoxicillin

250 to 500 mg every 8 hours

Every 8 hours

Every 8 to 12 hours

Every 24 hours

Ampicillin

0.25 to 2 g every 6 hours

Every 6 hours

Every 6 to 12 hours

Every 12 to 24 hours

Ampicillin/sulbactam (Unasyn)

1 to 2 g ampicillin and 0.5 to 1 g sulbactam every 6 to 8 hours

100% (GFR ≥ 30)

Every 12 hours (GFR 15 to 29)

Every 24 hours (GFR 5 to 14)

Carbenicillin (Geocillin), 382-mg tablet

1 or 2 tablets every 6 hours

Every 6 to 12 hours

Every 12 to 24 hours

Every 24 to 48 hours

Carbenicillin IV (not available in the United States)

200 to 500 mg per kg per day, continuous infusion or in divided doses

Every 8 to 12 hours

Every 12 to 24 hours

Every 24 to 48 hours

Dicloxacillin (Dynapen)

No adjustment needed

Nafcillin

No adjustment needed

Penicillin G

0.5 to 4 million U every 4 to 6 hours

100%

75%

20 to 50%

Penicillin VK

No adjustment needed

Piperacillin

3 to 4 g every 6 hours

Every 6 hours

Every 6 to 12 hours

Every 12 hours

Piperacillin/tazobactam (Zosyn)

3.375 to 4.5 g every 6 to 8 hours

100%

2.25 g every 6 hours; every 8 hours (GFR < 20)

2.25 g every 8 hours

Ticarcillin

3 g every 4 hours

1 to 2 g every 4 hours

1 to 2 g every 8 hours

1 to 2 g every 12 hours

Ticarcillin/clavulanate (Timentin)

3.1 g every 4 hours

100%

Every 8 to 12 hours

2 g every 12 hours

Quinolones

Ciprofloxacin (Cipro)

400 mg IV or 500 to 750 mg orally every 12 hours

100%

50 to 75%

50%

Gatifloxacin (Tequin)

400 mg every 24 hours

100%

400 mg initially, then 200 mg daily

400 mg initially, then 200 mg daily

Gemifloxacin (Factive)

320 mg every 24 hours

100%

50 to 100%

50%

Levofloxacin (Levaquin)

250 to 750 mg every 24 hours

100%

500 to 750 mg initial dose, then 250 to 750 mg every 24 to 48 hours

500 mg initial dose, then 250 to 500 mg every 48 hours

Moxifloxacin (Avelox)

No adjustment needed

Norfloxacin (Noroxin)

400 mg every 12 hours

Every 12 hours

Every 12 to 24 hours

Avoid

Ofloxacin (Floxin)

200 to 400 mg every 12 hours

100%

200 to 400 mg every 24 hours

200 mg every 24 hours

Trovafloxacin (not available in the United States)

No adjustment needed

Sulfas

Sulfamethoxazole (Gantanol)

1 g every 8 to 12 hours

Every 12 hours

Every 18 hours

Every 24 hours

Sulfisoxazole (Gantrisin)

1 to 2 g every 6 hours

Every 6 hours

Every 8 to 12 hours

Every 12 to 24 hours

Trimethoprim (Proloprim)

100 mg every 12 hours

Every 12 hours

Every 12 hours (GFR > 30); every 18 hours (GFR 10 to 30)

Every 24 hours

Tetracyclines

Doxycycline (Vibramycin)

No adjustment needed

Tetracycline

250 to 500 mg two to four times daily

Every 8 to 12 hours

Every 12 to 24 hours

Every 24 hours

Other

Chloramphenicol (Chloromycetin)

No adjustment needed

Clindamycin (Cleocin)

No adjustment needed

Dalfopristin/quinupristin (Synercid)

No adjustment needed

Linezolid (Zyvox)

No adjustment needed

Nitrofurantoin (Furadantin)

500 to 1,000 mg every 6 hours

100%

Avoid

Avoid

Telithromycin (Ketek)

No adjustment needed


GFR = glomerular filtration rate; IV = intravenous.

*—To avoid nephrotoxicity it is recommended that the patient have a daily urine output of 1 mL for every 1.3 mg of acyclovir administered.

Adapted with permission from Livornese LL Jr, Slavin D, Gilbert B, Robbins P, Santoro J. Use of antibacterial agents in renal failure. Infect Dis Clin North Am 2004;18:556–67, with additional information from reference4.

Excessive serum levels of injectable penicillin G or carbenicillin (not available in the United States) may be associated with neuromuscular toxicity, myoclonus, seizures, or coma.22 Imipenem/cilastatin (Primaxin) can accumulate in patients with chronic kidney disease, causing seizures if doses are not reduced.23 Patients with advanced disease should receive a different carbapenem, such as meropenem (Merrem).24 Tetracyclines, with the exception of doxycycline (Vibramycin), have an antianabolic effect that may significantly worsen the uremic state in patients with severe disease. Nitrofurantoin (Furadantin) has a toxic metabolite that can accumulate in patients with chronic kidney disease, causing peripheral neuritis.25

Aminoglycosides should be avoided in patients with chronic kidney disease when possible. If used, initial doses should be based on an accurate GFR estimate. Renal function and drug concentrations should be monitored and dosages adjusted accordingly.

ANALGESICS

Patients with stage 5 kidney disease are more likely to experience adverse effects from opioid use. Metabolites of meperidine (Demerol), dextropropoxyphene (propoxyphene [Darvon]), morphine (Duramorph), tramadol (Ultram), and codeine can accumulate in patients with chronic kidney disease, causing central nervous system and respiratory adverse effects.2628 These agents are not recommended in patients with stage 4 or 5 disease. A 50 to 75 percent dose reduction for morphine and codeine is recommended in patients with a creatinine clearance less than 50 mL per minute (0.83 mL per second).28 Extended-release tramadol should be avoided in patients with chronic kidney disease. The dosing interval of tramadol (regular release) may need to be increased to every 12 hours in patients with a creatinine clearance less than 30 mL per minute (0.5 mL per second).29 Acetaminophen can be used safely in patients with renal impairment.

NSAIDS

Adverse renal effects of NSAIDs include acute renal failure; nephrotic syndrome with interstitial nephritis; and chronic renal failure with or without glomerulopathy, interstitial nephritis, and papillary necrosis.30 The risk of acute renal failure is three times higher in NSAID users than in non-NSAID users.31 Other adverse effects of NSAIDs include decreased potassium excretion, which can cause hyperkalemia, and decreased sodium excretion, which can cause peripheral edema, elevated blood pressure, and decompensation of heart failure. NSAIDs can blunt antihypertensive treatment, especially if beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, or ARBs are used.32,33 Although selective cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors may cause slightly fewer adverse gastrointestinal effects, adverse renal effects are similar to traditional NSAIDs.34,35

Short-term use of NSAIDs is generally safe in patients who are well hydrated; who have good renal function; and who do not have heart failure, diabetes, or hypertension.36 Long-term use and high daily dosages of COX-2 inhibitors and other NSAIDs should be avoided if possible. Patients at high risk of NSAID-induced kidney disease should receive serum creatinine measurements every two to four weeks for several weeks after initiation of therapy because renal insufficiency may occur early in the course of therapy.

OTHER MEDICATIONS

Drug dosing requirements for statins and for other commonly prescribed medications that require dosing adjustments in patients with chronic kidney disease are listed in Table 737,38  and Table 8,4,39 respectively.

Table 7

Statins: Dosing Requirements in Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease

Drug Usual dosage*38 Dosage adjustments based on degree of renal function

Atorvastatin (Lipitor)

10 mg daily Maximal dosage: 80 mg daily

No adjustment needed

Fluvastatin (Lescol)

20 to 80 mg daily 80 mg daily (sustained release)

50% dose reduction in patients with a GFR less than 30 mL per minute per 1.73 m2

Lovastatin (Mevacor)

20 to 40 mg daily Maximal dosage: 80 mg daily (immediate release) or 60 mg daily (extended release)

Use with caution in patients with a GFR less than 30 mL per minute per 1.73 m2

Pravastatin (Pravachol)

10 to 20 mg daily Maximal dosage: 40 mg daily

Starting dosage should not exceed 10 mg daily in patients with a GFR less than 30 mL per minute per 1.73 m2

Rosuvastatin (Crestor)

5 to 40 mg daily

Recommended starting dosage is 5 mg daily in patients with a GFR less than 30 mL per minute per 1.73 m2 not to exceed 10 mg daily

Simvastatin (Zocor)

10 to 20 mg daily Maximal dosage: 80 mg daily

Recommended starting dosage is 5 mg daily in persons with a GFR less than 10 mL per minute per 1.73 m2


GFR = glomerular filtration rate.

*—Table provides general dosing information; dosages may be different for specific indications.

Information from references 37 and 38.

Table 7   Statins: Dosing Requirements in Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease

View Table

Table 7

Statins: Dosing Requirements in Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease

Drug Usual dosage*38 Dosage adjustments based on degree of renal function

Atorvastatin (Lipitor)

10 mg daily Maximal dosage: 80 mg daily

No adjustment needed

Fluvastatin (Lescol)

20 to 80 mg daily 80 mg daily (sustained release)

50% dose reduction in patients with a GFR less than 30 mL per minute per 1.73 m2

Lovastatin (Mevacor)

20 to 40 mg daily Maximal dosage: 80 mg daily (immediate release) or 60 mg daily (extended release)

Use with caution in patients with a GFR less than 30 mL per minute per 1.73 m2

Pravastatin (Pravachol)

10 to 20 mg daily Maximal dosage: 40 mg daily

Starting dosage should not exceed 10 mg daily in patients with a GFR less than 30 mL per minute per 1.73 m2

Rosuvastatin (Crestor)

5 to 40 mg daily

Recommended starting dosage is 5 mg daily in patients with a GFR less than 30 mL per minute per 1.73 m2 not to exceed 10 mg daily

Simvastatin (Zocor)

10 to 20 mg daily Maximal dosage: 80 mg daily

Recommended starting dosage is 5 mg daily in persons with a GFR less than 10 mL per minute per 1.73 m2


GFR = glomerular filtration rate.

*—Table provides general dosing information; dosages may be different for specific indications.

Information from references 37 and 38.

Table 8

Other Common Agents: Dosing Requirements in Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease

Drug Usual dosage* Dosage adjustments based on (percentage of usual dosage) GFR (mL per minute per 1.73 m2)
> 50 10 to 50 < 10

Allopurinol (Zyloprim)†

300 mg daily

75%

50%

25%

Esomeprazole (Nexium)

No adjustment needed

Famotidine (Pepcid)

20 to 40 mg at bedtime

50%

25%

10%

Gabapentin (Neurontin)39

300 to 600 mg three times daily

900 to 3,600 mg three times daily (GFR= 60)

400 to 1,400 mg twice daily (GFR > 30 to 59) 200 to 700 mg daily (GFR > 15 to 29)

100 to 300 mg daily (GFR= 15)

Lansoprazole (Prevacid)

No adjustment needed

Metoclopramide (Reglan)

10 to 15 mg three times daily

100%

75%

50%

Omeprazole (Prilosec)

No adjustment needed

Ranitidine (Zantac)

150 to 300 mg at bedtime

75%

50%

25%


GFR = glomerular filtration rate.

*—Table provides general dosing information; dosages may be different for specific indications.

†—Elimination half-life of active metabolite oxypurinol increases from 24 hours to 125 hours in patients with renal failure. Accumulation of oxypurinol can lead to a toxic immune mediated reaction.

Information from references 4 and 39.

Table 8   Other Common Agents: Dosing Requirements in Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease

View Table

Table 8

Other Common Agents: Dosing Requirements in Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease

Drug Usual dosage* Dosage adjustments based on (percentage of usual dosage) GFR (mL per minute per 1.73 m2)
> 50 10 to 50 < 10

Allopurinol (Zyloprim)†

300 mg daily

75%

50%

25%

Esomeprazole (Nexium)

No adjustment needed

Famotidine (Pepcid)

20 to 40 mg at bedtime

50%

25%

10%

Gabapentin (Neurontin)39

300 to 600 mg three times daily

900 to 3,600 mg three times daily (GFR= 60)

400 to 1,400 mg twice daily (GFR > 30 to 59) 200 to 700 mg daily (GFR > 15 to 29)

100 to 300 mg daily (GFR= 15)

Lansoprazole (Prevacid)

No adjustment needed

Metoclopramide (Reglan)

10 to 15 mg three times daily

100%

75%

50%

Omeprazole (Prilosec)

No adjustment needed

Ranitidine (Zantac)

150 to 300 mg at bedtime

75%

50%

25%


GFR = glomerular filtration rate.

*—Table provides general dosing information; dosages may be different for specific indications.

†—Elimination half-life of active metabolite oxypurinol increases from 24 hours to 125 hours in patients with renal failure. Accumulation of oxypurinol can lead to a toxic immune mediated reaction.

Information from references 4 and 39.

Although herbal therapies are commonly used,40 some may pose a risk in patients with chronic kidney disease. St. John's wort and ginkgo accelerate the metabolism of many medications, causing diminished pharmacologic effects. Ginkgo also can increase the risk of bleeding in patients taking aspirin, ibuprofen, or warfarin (Coumadin). Some herbal products (e.g., alfalfa, dandelion, noni juice) contain undisclosed amounts of potassium, which can cause hyperkalemia. Some may contain heavy metals that are toxic to the kidneys, or ephedralike vasoconstrictive compounds that can cause hypertension.4143 Chinese herbal medicines containing aristolochic acid (commonly used in weight-loss regimens) are nephrotoxic and can cause stage 5 kidney disease.3.

The Authors

MYRNA Y. MUNAR, PharmD, BCPS, is an associate professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice at Oregon State University College of Pharmacy, Portland, and is an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at the Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine, Portland. Dr. Munar received her doctorate of pharmacy degree at the University of Southern California School of Pharmacy, Los Angeles.

HARLEEN SINGH, PharmD, is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice at Oregon State University College of Pharmacy. Dr. Singh received her doctorate of pharmacy degree and completed an adult medicine residency at the Ohio State University College of Pharmacy, Columbus.

Address correspondence to Myrna Y. Munar, PharmD, BCPS, 3303 SW Bond Ave., Mail Code CH12C, Portland, OR 97239 (e-mail: munarm@ohsu.edu). Reprints are not available from the authors.

Author disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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This is one in a series of “Clinical Pharmacology” articles coordinated by Allen F. Shaughnessy, PharmD, Tufts University Family Medicine Residency Program, Malden, Mass.


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