Persons on dialysis may require drugs to complement their treatment and to help to reduce the symptoms of their disease

In the dialysis centre

Erythropoietin (EPO): A hormone that promotes the formation red blood cells and is administered to treat anaemia associated with chronic kidney disease. You will receive it in your dialysis centre if you are on haemodialysis; in case you are treated with peritoneal dialysis (PD), you can administer the drug yourself at home.

Iron: Helps in the treatment of anaemia (decrease of red blood cells). If you are on haemodialysis, you might receive iron during the dialysis treatment. If you are on PD, you may be prescribed pills to take at home.

Vitamin D: Depending on the state of chronic kidney disease, the kidneys fail to synthesize this substance which is necessary to control the production of parathyroid hormone (a hormone that regulates calcium and phosphorus). Vitamin D can be administrated both orally and intra-venously during the haemodialysis treatment.

At home

Phosphate Binders: These are tablets or capsules that help to control the levels of calcium and phosphate in your body, which often can cause itching and both bone changes and calcification of the arteries and veins. Phosphate binders help to reduce the phosphate intake coming from your food, so it is important to take them as described on the package leaflet.

Anti-hypertensive drugs: These are drugs that help to control your blood pressure. It is important to take them as indicated by your physician.To take them before the dialysis treatment may cause a sudden drop in your blood pressure during the treatment that could cause dizziness or even unconsciousness.

Other vitamins: Vitamin B or folic acid. Sometimes you should take them either because levels are lower in patients with renal disease or because they are reduced during dialysis.

Related topics

In peritoneal dialysis a part of the peritoneum is used as a dialyser.

Haemodialysis can be performed at home, in a self-care / limited-care unit or in a dialysis centre.