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Medication

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If you need dialysis – either Hemodialysis or Peritoneal dialysis – your doctor will prescribe various medications that serves various purposes.

As a hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis patient, your physician prescribes different medication for different purposes. For example, to stimulate the production of red blood cells and avoid anemia or to prevent irritation and bone damage.

 

The following medication is used most frequently:

Our kidneys normally excrete phosphate absorbed with food. In the case of chronic renal failure, this process no longer functions. Therefore, the phosphate levels in the body increase and, in combination with other substances, cause irritation to the skin and eyes. Another possible effect is atherosclerosis, i.e. calcification of the blood vessels, which leads to heart disease. Dialysis helps in this regard, but it can only eliminate some of the excess phosphate. Therefore, the phosphate levels in the body must be lowered further by means of a low-phosphate diet and appropriate medi-cation, so-called phosphate binders. This medication ‘binds’ the phosphate in the gut so that it cannot be absorbed by the blood.

Vitamin D is activated in the kidneys to facilitate the absorption of calcium from food. We need calcium for the preservation of bone. People with kidney disease are often given vitamin D in a pre-activated form so that their body can absorb more calcium and the risk of bone fractures is reduced.

Iron is a vital structural component of haemoglobin, a key protein found in normal red blood cells, which transport oxygen. Without iron, it is difficult for the body to create enough healthy red blood cells. Clinical management of iron deficiency involves treating patients with iron replacement products while they undergo hemodialysis. Iron is usually supplied by intravenous infusion at the renal care center.

Erythropoietin, often referred to as EPO, is a hormone produced by the kidneys which stimulates the bone marrow to produce red blood cells. As the production of erythropoietin in chronic kidney disease patients is low, the level of red blood cells is reduced, which leads to renal anemia. Synthetic erythropoietin can be given intravenously or through the skin as a substitute for natural erythropoietin in order to keep the level of red blood cells stable.

Most patients suffer from high blood pressure (hypertension). Blood pressure needs to be regulated with appropriate medication and strictly controlled during treatment.

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