Whether it be headache tablets, laxatives or antibiotics, every medication that you take passes through your kidneys. As your kidneys primary function is to remove waste products from your body, it’s important to be smart when it comes to taking medication - this means taking them following your doctor’s instructions and only when necessary.

Some medications that can damage your kidneys include:

  • Laxatives
  • Pain medications
  • Antibiotics

See also: What is Kidney Disease? Symptoms and Causes

What medications can damage your kidneys?

No matter what medication you take - it’s bound to make its way through your kidneys. If you’re taking it in excessive amounts or in the wrong way, it can lead to serious complications for your kidneys [1]. Though you can survive with one kidney - it’s important to keep both in good shape!

These are some of the most common medications that can affect the kidneys:

See also: Can too Much Protein Damage Your Kidneys?


The FDA have reported that a selection of laxatives are connected to a sudden loss of kidney function and blood mineral disturbances - this particularly concerns those already living with kidney disease though it can also affect others [2].

If you need to take laxatives, make sure to discuss the options with your doctor.

Pain medications

Over-the-counter medications such as aspirin, naproxen and ibuprofen can all be damaging to your kidneys if taken in high quantities as they can reduce the blood flow to the kidneys [3].

When it comes to pain medication, it’s important to talk to your doctor before you begin taking them regularly.


Like the majority of medications on this list, if antibiotics aren’t taken with care and in the correct way, they can cause serious harm to your kidneys. This is because some antibiotics contain substances that can damage certain kidney cells and/or disrupt your urine flow [4].

Remember to only take antibiotics prescribed to you by your doctor.

How to check kidney function at home

With LetsGetChecked’s kidney function test it’s possible to check your kidney health from the comfort of your own home. Although if you’re concerned about your kidney health and feel you need immediate attention - visit your doctor as soon as possible.

The LetsGetChecked kidney function test will allow you to monitor your kidney function and performance and you’ll receive your online results within a week. This test will indicate how your kidneys are performing by measuring levels of urea, creatinine, and eGFR. High levels of urea, creatinine and a low eGFR can indicate acute or chronic kidney disease.

You should consider taking a test if:

  • You suffer from high blood pressure
  • You suffer from diabetes
  • You have suffered an acute injury
  • You have persistent urinary tract infections
  • You have a kidney disease or a family history of one
  • You have kidney stones or a family history of them
  • You have a high protein diet
  • You have been taking performance enhancing drugs

See also: How do you Check Your Kidney Function From Home?


  1. National Kidney Function. Which drugs are harmful to your kidneys? Online: Kidney.org
  2. U.S Food & Drug Administration. Use certain laxatives with caution. Online: Fda.gov, 2014
  3. National Kidney Function. Which drugs are harmful to your kidneys? Online: Kidney.org
  4. National Kidney Function. Which drugs are harmful to your kidneys? Online: Kidney.org