Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug induced acute kidney injury in the community dwelling general population and people with chronic kidney disease: systematic review and meta-analysis

BMC Nephrol. 2017 Aug 1;18(1):256. doi: 10.1186/s12882-017-0673-8.


Background: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a common cause of adverse drug events (ADEs), but renal risks of NSAIDs are less well quantified than gastrointestinal and cardiac risks. This paper reports a systematic review of published population-based observational studies examining the risk of acute kidney injury (AKI) associated with NSAIDs in community-dwelling adults and those with pre-existing chronic kidney disease (CKD).

Methods: MEDLINE and EMBASE databases were searched until June 2016, and 3789 papers screened. Ten studies reporting NSAID risk of AKI in the general population were included in random effects meta-analysis, of which five additionally reported NSAID risk in people with CKD.

Results: In the general population, the pooled odds ratio (OR) of AKI for current NSAID exposure was 1.73 (95%CI 1.44 to 2.07), with somewhat higher risk observed in older people (OR 2.51, 95%CI 1.52 to 2.68). In people with CKD, individual study OR of AKI due to current NSAID exposure ranged from 1.12 to 5.25, with pooled estimate OR 1.63 (95% CI 1.22 to 2.19).

Conclusions: No study reported baseline risk of AKI in different populations meaning absolute risks could not be estimated, but baseline risk and therefore the absolute risk of NSAID exposure is likely to be higher in people with CKD and older people. Large population based studies measuring AKI using current definitions and estimating the absolute risk of harm are needed in order to better inform clinical decision making.

Keywords: Acute kidney injury; Chronic kidney disease; Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; Pharmacoepidemiology.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / chemically induced*
  • Acute Kidney Injury / diagnosis
  • Acute Kidney Injury / epidemiology*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Independent Living*
  • Observational Studies as Topic / methods
  • Population Surveillance / methods
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / diagnosis
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / epidemiology*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal