Medication safety in chronic kidney disease

Curr Opin Nephrol Hypertens. 2023 Sep 1;32(5):434-438. doi: 10.1097/MNH.0000000000000907. Epub 2023 Jun 8.


Purpose of review: Several drugs cause nephrotoxicity and accelerate progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD). The objective of this review is to summarize recent evidence on drugs that either increase the risk of nephrotoxicity, progression of CKD or drug induced harm in patients with CKD.

Recent findings: Bisphosphonates and hypnotics increase the progression of CKD, whereas denosumab does not accelerate progression of CKD. Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) increases the risk of renal tubular toxicity and adverse effects on bone, but Tenofovir alafenamide (TAF) and Tenofovir amibufenamide (TMF) have favorable safety profile on the kidneys and bones. Although no dosage adjustment is needed for Oral Nirmatrelvir/Ritonavir in patients with mild renal impairment and coronavirus disease 2019, the dosage is reduced to twice daily in those with moderate renal impairment. It is not recommended in patients with severe renal impairment. The prescribing information does not recommend use of remdesevir below glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) < 30 ml/min but recent studies suggest that remdesevir may be safe and effective in patients with varying levels of CKD severity. Molnupiravir does not require dose adjustment in patients with CKD.

Summary: Several medications increase the risk of development of acute kidney injury or progression of CKD. Close attention is needed to select the appropriate dose or safer alternatives to reduce the risk of drug-induced harm in patients with CKD.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenine / adverse effects
  • COVID-19*
  • Humans
  • Kidney
  • Renal Insufficiency*
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic* / chemically induced
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic* / drug therapy
  • Tenofovir / adverse effects


  • Tenofovir
  • Adenine