Analgesics are commonly used and may impair kidney function. However, limited prospective information is available on the long-term effects of aspirin, other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and acetaminophen on renal function.
A total of 1697 women participating in the Nurses' Health Study provided information on a mailed questionnaire in 1999 about lifetime use of acetaminophen, aspirin, and NSAIDs and provided blood samples in 1989 and 2000. The main outcome was change in estimated glomerular filtration rate (GFR) in 11 years. Multivariate logistic regression was used to determine the odds of developing the outcome according to lifetime analgesic intake.
The mean ± SD estimated GFR decreased from 88 ± 17 to 79 ± 17 mL/min per 1.73 m2. There were no substantial differences in the unadjusted or estimated GFR levels among the categories of lifetime intake for the 3 analgesic groups at baseline or after 11 years. Acetaminophen use was associated with an increased risk of a GFR decline of at least 30 mL/min per 1.73 m2 (P trend = .01) and a GFR decline of 30% or greater (P trend<.001), but aspirin and NSAID use were not. Compared with women consuming less than 100 g of acetaminophen, multivariate-adjusted odds ratio (95% confidence intervals) for a decline in GFR of at least 30 mL/min per 1.73 m2 for women consuming more than 3000 g was 2.04 (1.28-3.24).
Higher lifetime use of aspirin and NSAIDs is not associated with renal function decline, but high acetaminophen use may increase the risk of loss of renal function. The absolute risk of renal function decline due to even high lifetime analgesic intake seems to be modest.