November 8, 2001
American Kidney Fund Cautions Against Unwarranted Use of
- The American Kidney Fund (AKF) is warning Americans who may wish to
take Cipro to use as a precautionary measure against anthrax that they could
be exposing their kidneys to serious harm. With numerous reports that
thousands of people are attempting to obtain the powerful antibiotic by any
means possible, the risk of Cipro misuse resulting in kidney disease or
kidney failure is increasing. There is no cure for kidney failure. The only
existing treatments are kidney dialysis and kidney transplantation.
Dr. Paul W. Crawford, a nephrologist (kidney specialist) and AKF Chairman of
Medical Affairs, said, "Cipro is a terrific antibiotic, but if used
incorrectly, it can compromise the kidneys' ability to cleanse the blood of
toxins. There are ten million people in the U.S. with early stage kidney
disease, and their doctors must prescribe a dosage that is in relation to
their level of kidney function. If they take Cipro on their own, they are at
risk of moving from early stage kidney disease into End Stage Renal Disease
"Even under the best of circumstances, when Cipro is prescribed by a doctor
and a healthy patient follows directions, there is a small chance that Cipro
can cause an inflammation of the kidneys that can lead to renal failure,"
Dr. Crawford continued. "The idea that many people could obtain and use
Cipro incorrectly and without doctor supervision is real cause for concern.
Ironically, these same people want Cipro for 'peace of mind' purposes," he
The warning signs of kidney disease include: Swelling of parts of the body,
especially around the eyes, ankles, and wrists; lower back pain; coffee-
colored or foamy urine, high blood pressure; a change in frequency of
urination; and, feeling extremely tired.
"Whether taking Cipro or not, if any of these symptoms occur singly or in
combination, you should consult your physician immediately," Dr. Crawford
The American Kidney Fund is the leading national voluntary health
organization providing direct financial assistance for the benefit of kidney
patients supported by comprehensive educational programs, clinical research
and community service projects.