According to findings in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, patients with chronic kidney disease were at greater risk for disease progression and early death when they persistently used substances – especially illicit “hard drugs.”
According to a press release from the American Society of Nephrology, researchers examined information from the Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort Study, a prospective longitudinal cohort study of 3,939 patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) in the U.S. Self-reported information on tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption, marijuana use and illicit “hard drug” use, such as cocaine, heroin or methamphetamine, was obtained at the start of the study and at annual follow-up visits.
During a median follow-up of 5.5-years, 1,287 patients experienced CKD progression and 1,001 died. Baseline proportion of tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption, marijuana use and illicit hard drug use were 13%, 20%, 33% and 12%, respectively.
Among the major findings were the following:
compared with non-smoking throughout follow-up, persistent tobacco smoking was linked with an 86% greater risk of dying;
compared with non-drinking throughout follow-up, persistent alcohol drinking was linked with a 27% decreased risk of dying;
compared with non-use of marijuana throughout follow-up, persistent marijuana use was not significantly linked with risk CKD progression or dying; and
compared with non-use of illicit hard drug use throughout follow-up, persistent drug use was linked with a 25% greater risk for CKD progression and a 41% greater risk of dying.
Patients with CKD were at greater risks for disease progression and early death when they persistently used substances – especially illicit “hard drugs.”
“The U.S. is in the midst of an opioid epidemic, which has led to increases in the use and abuse of heroin. Additionally, efforts for the decriminalization and legalization of illicit drugs, especially marijuana, are gaining traction – for example more than half of U.S. states currently allow medicinal and/or recreational use of marijuana,” Jian He, MD, PhD, lead author of the study from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, said in the release. “It is important to try to quantify the long-term health consequences of substance use, especially among vulnerable populations such as patients with chronic conditions like CKD, who are at high risk for poor health outcomes.”
The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.