Anti-fever meds may harm kids’ kidneys: study

January 30, 2013

Bloomington, IN – Common anti-fever medications may cause kidney damage in sick children, according to a new study from Indiana University and Butler University.

Of the 1,105 cases of pediatric kidney injury treated at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health between January 1999 and June 2010, 27 (2.7 percent) were directly tied to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen, researchers found. They noted that 27 cases is likely an underestimate because many of the cases had multiple causes.

Although the overall percentage was low, the damage can be severe. Four of the children (all younger than 5) needed dialysis, and at least seven may have experienced permanent kidney damage.

Researchers said the risk may be higher for children who are dehydrated from the flu or another illness because the medications restrict kidney blood flow.

Children could be given a different fever reducer such as acetaminophen, or their body could be allowed to fight the infection without medication, researchers suggested in a press release.

The study was published online Jan. 25 in the Journal of Pediatrics.