While you are on dialysis, you doctor will regularly monitor blood tests. Depending upon the results of those tests, doctors may prescribe medications such as:
Vitamin D analogs “” A hormonally-active form of vitamin D is produced by the kidneys. In patients with kidney failure, the level of this vitamin drops significantly and can contribute to dialysis patients developing bone disease. For patients on peritoneal dialysis, doctors will prescribe oral active vitamin D, a medication to help treat or prevent bone disease
Phosphorus binders “” The kidneys are responsible for regulating the amount of phosphorus in the body. Phosphorus works in combination with calcium to keep bones healthy and strong. It also supports nerve and muscle function. When phosphorus levels get too high, excess calcium and phosphorus deposits can increase the risk for heart disease, damaged blood vessels and can cause skin problems. It can also cause weak bones. If your level is high, doctors may prescribe oral medications called phosphorus binders that will prevent phosphorus from absorbing from your food.
Iron “” Patients with kidney disease are often anemic. Anemia occurs when your blood lacks the right amount of healthy red blood cells. Your body needs iron to produce red blood cells. Doctors will prescribe iron supplements if needed.
Erythropoietin Stimulating Agents (ESAs) “” If you are diagnosed with anemia, doctors may prescribe a medication that will stimulate the production of more red blood cells in your bone marrow. Your physician will monitor these medications closely and prescribe the lowest dose possible to treat your anemia and keep you safe.
Do NOT take any medication that is not approved by your kidney doctors. Even over-the-counter medications and herbal supplements can be dangerous to your health.
Make it a habit to bring a list of current medications, including any over-the-counter medications you have taken, to every renal care team appointment. And tell your renal team whenever you have an appointment with a dentist or gynecologist, or plan to have minor surgery.
Your doctor may prescribe additional medications to prevent infections.