A combination of ibuprofen and certain blood pressure medications could lead to acute kidney injury. The corresponding study was published in Mathematical Biosciences.
Diuretics and renin-angiotensin system (RSA) inhibitors are often prescribed together for people with high blood pressure. As ibuprofen is available on an over-the-counter basis, many taking the two blood pressure medications may use ibuprofen to treat pain. However, this combination may not be safe.
Previous studies have found that taking diuretics, RSA inhibitors, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen may be linked to kidney damage. The triple therapeutic, known as the ‘triple whammy’ has been linked to a 31% increase in risk for acute kidney injury compared to treatment with only diuretics and RSA inhibitors.
Acute kidney damage is damaging to health and has mortality rates of 50-80% among certain populations, including those who are critically ill. It is also expensive to treat, accounting for 5% of hospital budgets. Ways to mitigate the condition are thus valuable both for preserving human health and reducing healthcare costs.
In the present study, researchers at the University of Waterloo created computer-simulated drug trials to model the three drugs’ interactions and their effects on the kidney. The researchers made separate models for men and women, and included variables describing the heart and circulation, kidney function, and sodium and water reabsorption in the nephron- a microscopic functional unit of the kidney.
In the end, the researchers found that as diuretics make the body hold less water, RAS inhibitors and ibuprofen cause a significant burden on the liver, leading to potentially permanent acute kidney injury. The effects, they reported, are likely similar in men and women.
The researchers say their findings are derived from computer models and not actual clinical trials. They also add that not everyone who happens to take the drug combination will develop problems. Nevertheless, they say that their findings suggest people taking diuretics and RAS inhibitors should be careful when taking ibuprofen and that they should consider taking acetaminophen instead.