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Managing your medications
Managing your medication is an important part of your treatment. Each medication is given for a particular reason and should be taken as directed. Your medications related to your kidney disease may include:
- medications to control your blood pressure (anti-hypertensives)
- medications to keep your heart healthy
- medications to control your phosphate levels (phosphate binders)
- medications to correct your potassium levels
- vitamin D
- injections to control your anaemia including erythropoeitin and iron
Many people with kidney disease also take regular medications for their diabetes, thyroid disorders, pain and arthritis.
Understanding your medications
When you get your medication it is wise to check that it is the same as your doctor ordered. It may have a different brand name so ask your pharmacist if in doubt.
Ask for an information leaflet called Consumer Medicine Information (CMI) for each medication you are prescribed. This leaflet includes detailed information on a medicine in plain English, including usage, side effects and precautions. A CMI is available at your pharmacist or from your pharmaceutical company and may be provided by your doctor: In some cases it is tucked inside medication packaging.
Questions: NPS Medicines Line 1300 MEDICINE - 1300 633 424 M-F 9am–5pm AEST
To use an interpreter over the phone call 131 450
Tools and Tips * Translated resources * Medicine Line search for medicine by name
Don’t use out of date medications
Medications past their use by date are less effective or even harmful. You can take these medications to a pharmacist or local hospital pharmacy for safe disposal. Never throw them in a rubbish bin.
Tell health professionals if you have kidney disease
If you are seeing a new health professional tell them about your kidney condition as this may influence their choice of medications and other treatments. For example some drugs are filtered through the kidney and will build up if you have kidney failure. Some drugs need to be avoided whilst others need to be at a much lower or safer dosage. Some over the counter medications fall into this group including:
- Alka Seltzer, baking powder or bubbling remedies as they contain sodium
- Milk of Magnesia or antacids containing magnesium
- Aspirin as it can affect blood clotting and can cause bleeding
- NSAIDS which are anti-inflammatory medications
- Enemas & laxatives unless suggested by your doctor
- Vitamins or food supplements as they may contain potassium and magnesium
- Herbal or complimentary medications may also have side effects, can interact with other medications or may be unsuitable if you have kidney disease.
Have a medication review
If you have taken a particular medication for a long time, take a number of tables, or attend different doctors, consider asking your local doctor to check your medications or organise a home medicine review by a pharmacist. There may be new medication available or a dose may need changing.
Shop around and ask for the cheapest price
To avoid paying extra for your medication, ask your doctor to prescribe the cheapest brand or ask your pharmacist if there is a less expensive brand. Try a few different pharmacies; sometimes the price of medication can vary. Beware of buying prescription medicines over the internet as you may run the risk of buying dummy, out of date, inappropriate or unapproved medication.
Updated 25 March 2014 Disclaimer: This information is intended as a general introduction to this topic and is not meant to substitute for your doctor's or health professional's advice. All care is taken to ensure the information is relevant and applicable to each Australian state. It should be noted Kidney Health Australia recognises each person's experience is individual and variations do occur in treatment and management due to personal circumstances. Should you require further info always consult your doctor or health professional.
Our Kidney Health Information Service (KHIS line)
For people with, or affected by, kidney and urinary disease
Or email your query to KHIS@kidney.org.au