Association of Opioids and Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs With Outcomes in CKD: Findings From the CRIC (Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort) Study

CRIC Study Investigators

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8 Scopus citations


Rationale & Objective: Safe analgesic choices are limited in chronic kidney disease (CKD). We conducted a comparative analysis of harm from opioids versus nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in CKD. Study Design: Prospective cohort study. Setting & Participants: 3,939 patients with CKD in the Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort (CRIC) Study. Exposures: 30-day analgesic use reported at annual visits. Outcomes: A composite outcome of 50% glomerular filtration rate reduction and kidney failure requiring kidney replacement therapy (KRT), as well as the outcomes of kidney failure requiring KRT, hospitalization, and pre–kidney failure death. Analytical Approach: Marginal structural models with time-updated exposures. Results: Participants were followed up for a median of 6.84 years, with 391 (9.9%) and 612 (15.5%) reporting baseline opioid and NSAID use, respectively. Time-updated opioid use was associated with the kidney disease composite outcome, kidney failure with KRT, death (HRs of 1.4 [95% CI, 1.2-1.7], 1.4 [95% CI, 1.1-1.7], and 1.5 [95% CI, 1.2-2.0], respectively), and hospitalization (rate ratio [RR], 1.7; 95% CI, 1.6-1.9) versus opioid nonusers. Similar results were found in an analysis restricted to a subcohort of participants reporting ever using other (nonopioid and non-NSAID) analgesics or tramadol. Time-updated NSAID use was associated with increased risk for the kidney disease composite (HR, 1.2; 95% CI, 1.0-1.5) and hospitalization (RR, 1.1; 95% CI, 1.0-1.3); however, these associations were not significant in the subcohort. The association of NSAID use with the kidney disease composite outcome varied by race, with a significant risk in blacks (HR, 1.3; 95% CI, 1.0-1.7). NSAID use was associated with lower risk for kidney failure with KRT in women and individuals with glomerular filtration rate < 45 mL/min/1.73 m2 (HRs of 0.63 [95% CI, 0.45-0.88] and 0.77 [95% CI, 0.59-0.99], respectively). Limitations: Limited periods of recall of analgesic use and potential confounding by indication. Conclusions: Opioid use had a stronger association with adverse events than NSAIDs, with the latter's association with kidney disease outcomes limited to specific subgroups, notably those of black race.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)184-193
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Kidney Diseases
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2020


  • COX-2 inhibitor
  • Chronic kidney disease (CKD)
  • analgesics
  • drug safety
  • end-stage renal disease (ESRD)
  • kidney disease progression
  • kidney function
  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)
  • opioids
  • outcomes
  • pain management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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