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Common drug combo can cause lethal kidney failure

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One of the most common drug combinations for heart problems is a major cause of kidney failure, which is responsible for up to half of preventable hospital deaths.
An antihypertensive to lower blood pressure and an NSAID (non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drug) are regularly prescribed in combination with a diuretic, especially to the elderly-but researchers have discovered only this week they can be lethal when taken together.
The combination of the three drugs can cause kidney failure, say researchers from McGill University in Montreal, a problem that affects around 20 per cent of all hospital patients, and is linked to half of all preventable deaths in the wards.
Tracking the progress of 487,372 people who took the three-drug combination, researchers discovered that 2,215 suffered kidney failure that needed hospital treatment and dialysis.
The risk may be small, but it’s a very real one, say the researchers. But in a separate commentary, researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine reckon that the real risk may be far greater.
(Source: British Medical Journal, 2013; 346: e8525).

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Article Topics: hypertension, Nephrology
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