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Cheap drug shields kidneys from CT dye damage: study

bea-mil's picture
Posts: 110
Joined: Jun 2010

I was searching the internet for something else when this page came up.
I think it is worth to read since we are doing so many ct scans.

"The use of contrast agents has brought enormous medical benefits, especially in angioplastic surgery, but has also heralded a steep rise in kidney failure, by far the most common and serious side effect of powerful scanners. As many as one in ten healthy people undergoing CT scans suffer acute kidney failure — an increase of at least 50% in blood creatinine — typically peaking two to five days after exposure."

"Patients with impaired renal function should not accept a CT scan unless they are first given a pill to protect their kidneys, say researchers writing in the February 19 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Even patients with healthy kidneys could benefit from taking the nephroprotective drug N-acetylcysteine, also known as NAC or acetylcysteine, before undergoing scans involving iodine-based radio-contrast agents, the study finds. N-acetylcysteine is cheap, safe, widely available, and could prevent serious kidney damage often caused by iodine."

If you would like to read more go to: http://www.nationalreviewofmedicine.com/issue/2008/03/5_patients_practice05_3.html

kkstef's picture
Posts: 706
Joined: May 2008

Bea....a very interesting article. My GYN/ONC don't order "routine" CT scans after the one I had 3 months after completing treatment....UNLESS there are symptoms and/or physical findings.... but if I come to a point when I need one again, I will definitely keep this in mind....especially since I only have one kidney! I didn't realize the risk or that there was something that could be done to reduce the risk!



jazzy1's picture
Posts: 1385
Joined: Mar 2010

Good information as I approached my oncologist after my first 2 CT's. Heard so much about the high levels of radiation. He was very receptive as knows I'd do anything alternative and then add on more radiation.... We've agreed to only do scan every 6 months vs. every 3 months. Now as time goes, possibly following Karen's setup -- only do scan if have symptoms and/or physical findings.

Quite interesting to read of how these tests affect our kidneys...never crossed my mind. Boy now I'm on it like glue.

Thanks again!

Posts: 99
Joined: Feb 2010

Thanks for sharing this. Great info!

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