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Analgesics can harm kidney.

Analgesics can harm kidney

U.S. scientists have found that adults taking long-term, daily doses of the nonprescription painkillers phenacetin and acetaminophen -- but not aspirin -- run an increased risk of kidney disease. This study and one from Germany, which yielded similar results, provide the first epidemiologic data on the effects of long-term, daily use of acetaminophen, says study leader Dale P. Sandler at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, N.C. Phenacetin was taken off the U.S. market in the late 1970s because of its suspected link to kidney disease.

Beginning in 1980, Sandler's team conducted telephone interviews with 554 North Carolina adults newly diagnosed with renal disease and 516 matched controls, asking about their history of analgesic use. In comparing the two groups, they found daily phenacetin use associated with about a fivefold increased risk of kidney disease and daily acetaminophen use with about a threefold increase, the researchers report in the May 11 NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE. No increased risk stemmed from aspirin use.

The work should be repeated in other regions, Sandler says, but in the meantime, people who take acetaminophen every day should do so only with medical supervision. Occasional users need not worry, she emphasizes.
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Title Annotation:phenacetin and acetaminophen
Publication:Science News
Date:May 13, 1989
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