Medication for Renal Artery Stenosis

If your renal arteries are less than 60 percent narrowed, your NYU Langone cardiologist may prescribe medications that lower high blood pressure and control cholesterol levels. This can help reduce the symptoms of renal artery stenosis and prevent kidney damage.

Because certain medications can affect liver function, your doctor monitors you closely with blood tests.

Blood Pressure Medications

Your doctor may prescribe medications to lower your blood pressure. There are several types.

Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors

Also called ACE inhibitors, these medications widen, or dilate, blood vessels to improve blood flow. They block angiotensin, an enzyme that causes arteries to narrow. Your doctor may prescribe these medications if you have one narrowed renal artery.

If you have high blood pressure and renal artery stenosis in both kidneys, however, you may not be a good candidate for some ACE inhibitors, which can interfere with the kidney’s ability to remove waste from the blood. Your doctor recommends the right medication for you.

Side effects include chronic cough, dizziness, and an itchy rash. Rarely, ACE inhibitors can cause swelling in the face, neck, or tongue, a dangerous complication that requires immediate medical attention. If you experience this symptom, contact your doctor immediately or go to the nearest emergency room. 

Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers

These medications widen blood vessels and reduce salt and water retention. They may be prescribed for people with renal artery stenosis who can’t tolerate ACE inhibitors.

Side effects include dizziness and lightheadedness. If you experience any rare side effects, including facial swelling or difficulty breathing, call your doctor immediately or go to the nearest emergency room.

Diuretics

Diuretics can help reduce blood pressure in the renal arteries. They help the kidneys remove salt and water from the body by increasing urine output. Side effects include frequent urination, dizziness, fatigue, and weakness.

Aspirin

Your doctor may recommend taking a low dose of aspirin daily to help prevent blood clots from forming in the renal arteries. Side effects for some people may include stomach pain, nausea, and bleeding, such as nosebleeds.

Cholesterol-Lowering Medications

Your doctor may prescribe medication to prevent plaque from building up in the arteries that lead to the kidneys. These medications, which are called statins, help lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad,” cholesterol, which can clog the arteries. They also raise levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol, which helps remove unhealthy cholesterol from the body.

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