What is nephrotoxicity?

Kidneys function to filter the blood in our body and to make some hormones and enzymes which are very essential for the health of our body. Cells present in the kidney perform all the functionings of the kidney and these cells are called nephrons. When these nephrons start damaging due to the consumption of any medications or food products the term is called nephrotoxicity. 


  1. The most common cause of nephrotoxicity is consumption medicines we use in our day today for pain purposes. The top most and most affecting tablet is painkillers. Usually patients of arthritis consume these medicines for long term which results in the damage of the kidney and cause nephrotoxicity.
  2. Some antibiotics are also responsible such as aminoglycosides , penicillin  and cephalosporin.
  3. Cancer patients undergoing the process of chemotherapy are at the risk of causing nephrotoxicity because the medicines given in this treatment are nephrotoxic.
  4. Supplements used for weight loss and treating gastritis are herbal supplements containing aeristrolactic acid and a product called rubab, which are nephrotoxic and cause nephrotoxicity. 


  • When the level of nephrotoxicity is mild to moderate it hardly has any symptoms, symptoms occur when the kidney is damaged around 70-75%.
  • Tiredness 
  • Itching
  • Rashes occur on the body
  • Swelling occur on the area of face
  • Swelling may take place on any parts of the body
  • Swollen legs
  • Quantity of urine decreases 
  • Bubbles occur with urine due to the mixture of protein with urine
  • Urine color changes
  • Bones weakens when kidney damages around 80-85%
  • Anemia may take place
  • Due to the damage of kidney other systems of body also gets affected

Health risks 

  1. Long term nephrotoxicity can result in kidney failure permanently which drags you into the need of dialysis and renal transplant.
  2. As kidney function upon the filtration of blood and cause of nephrotoxicity can cause you blood related disease or health problem.

Who is more likely to cause nephrotoxicity?

  • People above 60 years
  • People staying dehydrated 
  • Patients of hypertension
  • Uncontrolled diabetic patients
  • Patients of heart failure
  • Liver failure patients
  • Person having a history of surgery
  • Person undergone IV contrast 


  • Do not take pain killers for long term
  • If taking any medications make sure you take it under the guidance of experts
  • Stay hydrated
  • Take medicines of blood pressure and sugar as per the advice to keep it in control
  • Check the supplements before taking whether it is safe for kidney or not
  • Before taking herbal products check it if it’s safe enough for your kidneys health


If the damage of the kidney is at the starting stage then some of the medicines are given to cure it. If the kidney is damaged totally then patients need to take on the dialysis and are in need of renal transplant. In the supportive treatment other diseases are taken in control such as anemia, diabetes, blood pressure etc. 

Leave a Comment