About Kidney Disease Medications and Vitamins

Kidney Disease Medications

If you’re diagnosed with kidney disease, your doctor may prescribe certain medications and vitamins to help you stay healthy and feel your best. These medications, vitamins, and supplements for kidney disease can help you maintain balance in your body when your kidneys aren’t working as well as they should.

Which kidney disease medications your doctor prescribes may depend on several personal health factors, including your level of kidney function, which of the kidney disease stages you're in, and whether you're managing any other health conditions that could affect your kidney health.

6 common kidney disease medications
With any new medication, it’s important to understand what it does and how to take it. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about the medications they have prescribed.
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Erythropoietin – is a hormone that’s naturally produced by healthy kidneys to stimulate the production of red blood cells that deliver oxygen to your body. With kidney disease, kidneys may not produce enough of this hormone, which can lead to anemia (low red blood cell count) that reduces oxygen supply to your body making you feel weak and tired. Your doctor may prescribe synthetic erythropoietin to help keep your blood healthy.
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Diuretics – are medications that help your body get rid of excess fluid. Having too much fluid in your body can raise your blood pressure to unhealthy levels. Some people living with kidney disease experience swelling (edema) when their kidneys aren’t removing enough fluid – and swelling can increase as kidney disease progresses. Taking diuretics can help reduce your fluid levels and may lower your blood pressure.
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Blood pressure medications – are taken to lower your blood pressure and slow the progression of kidney disease. High blood pressure (hypertension) is a leading cause of kidney disease. There are many types of blood pressure medications, so your doctor will determine the right medication for you.
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Phosphate binders – also called phosphorus binders, help prevent your body from absorbing phosphorus (P) from the food you eat. Your doctor will prescribe the amount of phosphate binders you need to stay your healthiest, based on your level of kidney function.
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Sodium bicarbonate – commonly known as the active ingredient in baking soda, it may be prescribed in pill form by your doctor to help you balance the acid in your blood. It’s very important not to take sodium bicarbonate unless your doctor prescribes it.
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Cholesterol medication – helps lower cholesterol to prevent blockage in your blood vessels. When too much cholesterol builds up, it can prevent blood from flowing properly to certain parts of your body, including your kidneys. If your doctor determines you need cholesterol medication, he or she will prescribe one that’s safe to take with kidney disease.

Why do I need vitamins and supplements for kidney disease?

Your body needs certain vitamins and minerals to maintain good health, get energy from food, and perform important functions. Kidney disease can change the way your body uses vitamins and minerals, and eating a kidney-friendly diet may also change the amount of vitamins and minerals you’re able to get from the foods you eat.

Just like with any new medications, it’s important to understand what vitamins and supplements do and how to take them. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about the vitamins or supplements, they have prescribed.

It is important to know that if you go on dialysis, your medication and vitamins needs may be different. Talk to your doctor about any changes you need to make if your care plan changes.

Kidney Disease Medications - Why do I need vitamins
Kidney Disease Medications - Talk to your doctor

Talk to your doctor before taking any over-the-counter supplements or medications

Because kidney disease can change the way your body processes certain substances, it’s important to talk to your doctor about any over-the-counter medications, vitamins, or supplements that you’re taking, whether it’s something new or something you’ve been taking regularly. Certain medications, including traditional medicines, and even herbal substances can be harmful at any stage of kidney disease. Talking to your doctor can ensure that you’re protecting your kidney health.