patient stories
Jeremy
Peritoneal dialysis at
home using Amia
see his story

Dale
A Canada-wide cycling
trip with dialysis
see his story

Jaya
Coping with CKD
thanks to home dialysis
see her story

What is peritoneal dialysis (PD)?Understanding medications
Guidelines for taking medications:
  • All medications should be taken under the careful guidance of your doctor and nurse.
  • This is especially important since your kidneys no longer work as they used to.
  • Your doctor will prescribe the medications at the doses you need. Take your medications as prescribed.
  • Never take any over-the-counter or prescription medication that you have not discussed with your doctor or your nurse.

Some common medications your doctor may prescribe include:

Phosphate binders

Phosphorus in your body comes from the food you eat. Extra phosphorus is normally removed from the body through the urine by healthy kidneys. When your kidneys no longer remove phosphorus, it remains in the blood. High levels of phosphorus in your blood can cause blood vessel damage and your bones to become brittle and weak. Phosphate binders bind to the phosphorus in the food in the intestines so that it can be eliminated in bowel movements.

Iron and erythropoietin

Iron is used to help make red blood cells. You may need to take extra iron to increase the amount of iron in your blood. You must take iron exactly as prescribed to get the full benefit of the medication. When your kidneys no longer make enough erythropoietin, your body does not make enough red blood cells. Lack of red blood cells leads to anemia, which makes you feel like you are tired and have less energy. Erythropoietin is a drug that will help you make more red blood cells and is given by injection. You may be given erythropoietin by your nurse or you may be trained to give yourself erythropoietin at home.

Heparin

Heparin is an anticlotting drug. Heparin can reduce fibrin that may block your catheter. If prescribed by your doctor, your nurse will instruct you on how to add heparin to your solution bag.

Antibiotics

Antibiotics fight infections. If you should develop peritonitis or an exit-site infection, you will need antibiotics. Your doctor will prescribe the antibiotic that is best for your particular type of infection. Sometimes antibiotics are put directly into your solution bag. Your nurse will instruct you on how to add antibiotics to the solution bag. If you are prescribed antibiotics, it is important to take them as directed until they are done.

Only add medications to the dialysis solution if you have been taught to do so by your renal team.

If adding medications to your PD solution:

Always wear a mask
Wash hands
Check and clean the medication port
Follow your unit’s procedure exactly as taught