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Q: What is a ‘triple whammy?’

Posted August 14, 2013 in Advice Column

A: Similar to the old game show “Press Your Luck,” where the Whammy could bring the end to your game, a “triple whammy” is the combination of three types of medications that may cause harm to the kidneys.

Anti-inflammatory medications called NSAIDS are available by prescription and over the counter. These include Motrin, ibuprofen, naproxen, Celebrex and meloxicam. These medications are  used for pain and inflammation due to injuries or arthritis.

Blood pressure medications called ACE-inhibitors or ACE-blockers are commonly used to treat high blood pressure. These agents include medications with names ending in “-pril” such as lisinipril, as well as losartan, Benicar and Diovan.

Diuretics or “water pills” are used for treating blood pressure and/or water retention. These agents include furosemide, Lasix, hydrochlorothiazide and  spironolactone, to name a few. These medications are often used in combination with blood pressure medications.

These medications have been prescribed together for years; however, it has only been recently studies identified risks. One study found one in three patients taking this combination had measurable injury to the kidneys within one month. The risk is greater in diabetics and seniors.  Patients may have tolerated the combination for years, but as they aged the kidneys  became more sensitive to the combination.

If you have questions about the “triple whammy,” please contact your medical provider and your pharmacist.

Information provided by Hy-Vee Pharmacy, 823 Second St., Webster City, 515-832-4025.

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