Summary of COVID-19 medicines guidance: Renal and urologic disorders

This page summarises and signposts to medicine related guidance we’re aware of from professional and government bodies relating to coronavirus and renal and urologic disorders.

This page has been put together rapidly in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Whilst we have tried to ensure that the information on this page is complete, please report a concern if you feel anything is omitted or inaccurate. 

To see our professional guidance summaries for other clinical areas, click here

Advice in this area includes:

NHS England/NHS Improvement: Clinical guide for acute kidney injury in hospitalised patients with Covid-19 outside the ICU during the coronavirus pandemic

Published 22 April 2020

Our summary:

  • This guidance summarises the existing approach to AKI at high level with key points in Covid-19 disease specific management included
  • Patients with Covid-19 are at increased risk of AKI. The following drugs are specific additional AKI risks in this patient cohort:
    • Diuretic therapy that may have caused hypovolaemia
    • Drugs that increase the risks of AKI in the setting of hypovolaemia: NSAIDs, ACE-Inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers and SGL2 Inhibitors
  • Consider withholding medicines that may worsen renal function in those with AKI: contrast media, NSAIDs, ACE-Inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers and diuretics in those who are volume depleted
  • Common medicines that may require dose adjustment or cessation in those with worsening renal function: opiates, gabapentin/pregabalin, metformin, antibiotics (e.g. penicillins, vancomycin, teicoplanin), anticoagulants, digoxin, gentamicin and SGLT2/DPP-4

NHS England/NHS Improvement: Clinical guide for renal replacement therapy options in critical care during the coronavirus pandemic

Published 15 April 2020

Our summary:

  • The need to provide renal replacement therapy (RRT) to an increasing number of critically ill patients is likely to exceed machine capacity
  • In all cases maximal medical management should be considered before attempting RRT including:
  • This guideline considers the following RRT options in terms of requirements, modes, access to circulation and anticoagulation:
    • continuous veno-venous haemo(dia)filtration (CVVH(D)F)/continuous venovenous haemodialysis (CVVHD)
    • slow low efficiency dialysis (SLED), intermittent haemodialysis
    • peritoneal dialysis (PD)

NICE: COVID-19 rapid guideline: acute kidney injury in hospital

Published 6 May 2020

Our summary:

  • This guideline aims to help healthcare professionals who are not kidney specialists: prevent, detect and manage acute kidney injury in adults with known or suspected Covid-19
  • The recommendations are in order to improve outcomes and reduce the need for renal replacement therapy
  • The guideline includes a 1-page visual summary to support decision making

NICE: COVID-19 rapid guideline: chronic kidney disease

Published 15 May 2020

Our summary:

  • This guideline aims to maximise the safety of adults with chronic kidney disease (CKD) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Chapter 3 (page 9) “Managing CKD” includes the advice below on medicines (3.4 to 3.6)
  • Advise patients to continue taking their medicines (including ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, immunosuppressants and diuretics) as normal, unless advised to stop by their healthcare professional. This includes patients who have symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Be aware that there is no evidence from clinical or epidemiological studies that ACE inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers might worsen COVID-19.
  • For patients with CKD and suspected or confirmed COVID-19, review the use of medicines, taking into account whether any have the potential to adversely affect renal function.
  • Prescribe usual quantities of medicines to meet the patient’s clinical needs. Prescribing larger quantities of medicines puts the supply chain at risk.

NICE: COVID-19 rapid guideline: dialysis service delivery

Last updated 21 May 2020

Our summary:

  • This guideline aims to maximise the safety of patients on dialysis, while protecting staff from infection
  • Recommendations support dialysis services to make the best use of NHS resources and match the capacity of dialysis services to patient needs if these become limited because of the COVID-19
    pandemic.
  • This guideline is for health and care practitioners; health and care staff involved in planning/delivering services and commissioners
  • New recommendations added on coordinating support for patients with COVID-19 and acute kidney injury; and on emergency pathways for maintaining access sites for patients on dialysis (21 May 2020)

Kidney Care UK: Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for patients with kidney disease

Last updated 1 June 2020

Our summary:

  • Groups who should self-isolate
  • Specific Recommendations for Immunosuppressive Therapies:
    • Those over 70 and on any form of immunosuppression or have been on one in the past
    • Those currently receiving intravenous cyclophosphamide treatment or rituximab treatment or have done so within the last 6 months
    • Those currently receiving oral cyclophosphamide treatment
    • Those who have received prednisolone at dose > or = to 20mg/day for more than 4 weeks within the last 6 months
    • Those who have received or are currently receiving > 5mg/day prednisolone for > 4 weeks plus at least one other immunosuppressive* medicine within the last 6 months
    • For children, the dose that puts them in the extremely vulnerable group may be lower

*Immunosuppressive medications include: Azathioprine, Leflunomide, methotrexate, MMF, ciclosporin, tacrolimus, sirolimus and belatacept.

Kidney Care UK: Coronavirus guidance for patients with kidney disease: medication

Last updated 1 June 2020

Our summary:

  • Patient guidance concerning medication questions including:
    • I have high blood pressure, should I stop or change my blood pressure medications?
    • I have high blood pressure, am I at risk?
    • Can I take ibuprofen or other NSAIDs?
    • Antibiotics or any other new medication you are prescribed (interactions with immunosuppression medicines)
    • Supplies of Adoport® (Tacrolimus)

The Renal Association: COVID-19: Information and guidance for renal professionals

Our summary:

Provides resources for renal professionals and patients with kidney disease. Of particular relevance to medicines use is: