Anti-inflammatory agents and renal function

Semin Arthritis Rheum. 2002 Dec;32(3 Suppl 1):33-42. doi: 10.1053/sarh.2002.37216.


The purpose of this review is to provide an overview of the effect of traditional nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and cyclooxygenase (COX)-specific-2 inhibitors (coxibs) on renal function. Both COX isoforms (COX-1 and COX-2) constitutively are expressed in the adult mammalian kidney and contribute to the biosynthesis of prostaglandins (PGs). Inhibition of COX activity in the kidney by NSAIDs has relatively mild consequences in healthy individuals, but can lead to serious adverse events in patients whose renal function is PG dependent. Most studies have reported transient decreases in sodium excretion upon initiation of therapy with either traditional NSAIDs or coxibs. In patients whose renal function is dependent on prostanoids, both nonselective NSAIDs and coxibs can affect the glomerular filtration rate. Changes in renal function may result in hypertension and edema. Several studies have compared the effects of traditional NSAIDs, celecoxib, and rofecoxib on blood pressure and incidence of edema, but the results have not been consistent, as the trials used different clinical models and study designs. No trials to date have been performed with rigorous study designs that allow meaningful drug comparisons at comparably effective doses. In consequence, patients who are at risk for adverse renal events should be monitored with the same caution when receiving coxibs as when receiving treatment with nonselective NSAIDs. They include patients with congestive heart failure or renal or hepatic disease, as well as those of advanced age receiving therapy with diuretics or angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / etiology
  • Acute Kidney Injury / physiopathology
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / adverse effects*
  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Kidney / drug effects*
  • Kidney / physiopathology
  • Kidney Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Kidney Diseases / physiopathology
  • Kidney Function Tests


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors