Heavy Alcohol Use Accelerates CKD Progression

Pharmacy TimesMarch 2020
Volume 88
Issue 3

Excessive alcohol consumption can damage the liver, thereby increasing the load on the kidneys to filter the blood stream.

Patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) who heavily consumed alcohol experienced faster progression of their kidney disease, according to study results published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.1

Drinking alcohol can generally be done safely in moderation, even for patients with CKD, according to the National Kidney Foundation.

Excessive alcohol consumption can damage the liver, thereby increasing the load on the kidneys to filter the blood stream.2

The Korean Cohort Study for Outcomes in Patients with CKD assessed 1883 individuals with CKD who participated in detailed questionnaires regarding alcohol consumption. Their consumption habits were classified according to the amount of alcohol per occasion (none, moderate, or binge), and the frequency of consumption (none, occasional, or regular).1 The primary endpoint was a composite of 50% or greater decline in estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) from the baseline level or end-stage renal disease.1

During the median follow-up of 2.95 years, the primary outcome occurred in 419 patients. The risk of the primary outcome was lower in drinkers than in non-drinkers, according to unadjusted cause-specific hazard models.

Compared with non-drinking, regular and occasional binge drinking were associated with a 2.2-fold and a 2.0-fold higher risk of CKD progression, respectively.1

The association between regular and occasional binge drinking and CKD progression was particularly evident in patients who had decreased kidney function and proteinuria. The researchers noted a significant interaction between alcohol consumption and eGFR for CKD progression.1


  • Joo Y, Koh H, Nam K, et al. Alcohol consumption and progression of chronic kidney disease: results from the Korean cohort study for outcome in patients with chronic kidney disease. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Dec 26, 2019. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31883696. Accessed Jan 30, 2020.
  • Drinking alcohol affects your kidneys. National Kidney Foundation website. kidney.org/news/kidneyCare/winter10/AlcoholAffects. Accessed January 30, 2020.

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