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Monitoring of Kidney Health Urged for Injection Drug Users

Last Updated: August 12, 2010.

Excess protein in urine noted in about 25% who shoot up; rates higher in HIV-positive, study found.

THURSDAY, Aug. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Injection drug users, particularly those with HIV, need to be carefully monitored for poor kidney function and considered for medical treatments when appropriate, researchers report.

In a new study, U.S. scientists analyzed the presence of proteinuria (excess excretion of protein in the urine, which can lead to kidney failure and an increased risk of cardivascular disease) in 902 injection drug users, including 273 who were HIV-positive. Overall, about one-quarter of the injection drug users had proteinuria and the prevalence was nearly three times higher among those with HIV (45 percent) than among those who were HIV-negative (16 percent).

Along with HIV infection, other factors that were linked to a higher prevalence of proteinuria were being unemployed, older age and having diabetes, hepatitis C infection or high blood pressure, said Shruti H. Mehta, of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and colleagues.

The study findings were released online Aug. 12 in advance of publication in an upcoming print issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

The study authors suggest that doctors should screen HIV-infected injection drug users for proteinuria and consider them for treatments to protect the heart and kidneys.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more about proteinuria.

SOURCE: American Society of Nephrology, news release, Aug. 12, 2010.

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