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November 8,  2001

American Kidney Fund Cautions Against Unwarranted Use of Cipro


 (SafetyAlerts) -  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 (kidney failure)."

"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 added.

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 concluded.

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.

Source: PRNewswire.

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