More MS news articles for July 2001

Moderate Use of NSAIDs Not Associated With Kidney Dysfunction

July 18, 2001
By Jennifer Warner

New York - New York - Occasional use of aspirin, acetaminophen, or other pain reliever for everyday aches and pains is not associated with kidney dysfunction among healthy men, according to a new study.

"Because analgesic use is so common, even small increases in the relative risk of renal dysfunction could have a significant impact on rates of renal disease in the United States," write the study's authors, which appears in the July 18 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association. "This study, however, provides reassuring evidence that there does not appear to be a strong association between chronic analgesic use and chronic renal dysfunction."

Some earlier studies have suggested that regular use of popular pain relievers such as aspirin, acetaminophen, and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may increase the risk of chronic kidney problems in generally healthy patients, but others have shown no association.

Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston analyzed self-reported use of these pain relievers among 11,032 men with no history of kidney problems who took part in the 14-year Physicans' Health Study, from 1982 to 1995. They compared analgesic use to measured creatinine levels and creatinine clearance from blood samples provided by the men.

The authors defined elevated creatinine level as 1.5 mg/dL or higher, and a reduced creatinine clearance as 55 mL/min or less. Self-reported use of analgesics was classified as never (less than 12 pills), 12-1499 pills, 1500-2499 pills, and more than 2500 pills.

A total of 460 men (4.2%) had elevated creatinine levels, and 1258 men (11.4%) had reduced creatinine clearance. "Mean [average] creatinine levels and creatinine clearances were similar among men who did not use analgesics and those who did, even at total intakes of 2,500 or more pills," the researchers write.

"We found no significant associations between the use of acetaminophen, aspirin, or other NSAIDs and either elevated creatinine levels or reduced creatinine clearance even among men who used 2500 or more pills (an average of 3 to 4 pills/week) over the study period," report the researchers.

The study was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and McNeil Consumer Healthcare, which makes Tylenol.

JAMA. 2001;286(3):315-321

Jennifer Warner is news editor with CBS Healthwatch, Medscape's sister site for patients