A new study suggests that ibuprofen, along with similar painkillers called NSAIDs, could cause kidney damage in young children, especially if taken when children are dehydrated.
The NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) class of drugs includes the common painkillers ibuprofen and naproxen. This class of drug provides analgesic and antipyretic (fever-reducing) effects, and, in higher doses, anti-inflammatory effects.
New research, conducted in the U.S., suggest that these drugs pose a risk to children, according to CBC News.
Research undertaken at the Indiana University School of Medicine summarises data collected over a ten year period. The data shows that when a child suffered from kidney damage, in 3% of cases this related to the use of an NSAID class drug.
Although 3% is a low percentage, the damage in each case was severe, leading to the need for dialysis (what is called acute kidney injury). The concern is that kidney damage in children is often linked to abnormal drinking patterns. The kidneys function to protect the body from dehydration; however, NSAID drugs stop this process. This is due to salt and fluid retention.
The actual ages of the children was not specified, although the range was from five years to early teens.
According to Medical News, the researchers noted: "These cases, including some in which patients' kidney function will need to be monitored for years, as well as the cost of treatment, are quite significant, especially when you consider that alternatives are available and acute kidney injury from NSAIDs is avoidable.”
The research was led by Dr Jason Misurac and it has been published in the Journal of Pediatrics.