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Medications for Kidney Stones

The information provided here is meant to give you a general idea about each of the medications listed below. Only the most general side effects are included. Ask your doctor if you need to take any special precautions. Use each of these medications as recommended by your doctor, or according to the instructions provided. If you have further questions about usage or side effects, contact your doctor.

Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

NSAIDs can reduce pain or discomfort.

Over-the-counter and prescription NSAIDs:

  • Ibuprofen
  • Naproxen

Prescription NSAIDs:

  • Diclofenac
  • Indomethacin

Possible side effects include:

  • Abdominal pain, cramps, or discomfort
  • Heartburn or indigestion
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Rash

Prescription Opioids

Opioids may be used in cases of moderate to severe pain. Examples include:

  • Hydromorphone
  • Morphine

Possible side effects include:

Medications for Kidney Stone Prevention

Other medical conditions can put you at a high risk for kidney stones. You may be prescribed medication that will treat or manage the condition while reducing the risk of kidney stone development. They include:

Potassium Citrate

Common names include:

  • Polycitra-K
  • Urocit-K

Citrates are used to make the urine more alkaline. This helps prevent some kinds of kidney stones from forming.


Common name: Zyloprim

This medication reduces the amount of uric acid in the blood. This helps to control gout and to minimize the formation of uric acid kidney stones.


Common names include:

  • Esidrix
  • Hydro-chlor
  • Hydro-D
  • HydroDIURIL
  • Microzide
  • Oretic

Hydrochlorothiazide is a diuretic and is usually used to treat high blood pressure. It also helps to decrease the amount of calcium released by the kidneys into the urine. In addition, it is used to prevent calcium-containing stones from forming. Diuretics can cause the body to lose potassium.

Acetohydroxamic Acid

Common name: Lithostat

This medication is used in combination with antibiotics to prevent urinary tract infections that lead to the formation of struvite kidney stones. This drug should not be used during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Since this drug is associated with a high rate of side effects, such as deep vein thrombosis and hemolytic anemia , its use is limited.

Cellulose Sodium Phosphate

Common name: Calcibind

This medication is used to prevent the formation of calcium-containing kidney stones in people who absorb too much calcium from the gastrointestinal tract.


Common names include:

  • Tiopronin
  • Thiola

This medication is used to control the formation of cystine stones.


Common names include:

  • Cuprimine
  • Depen

Penicillamine is used to treat cystine stones.

Special Considerations

If you are taking medications, follow these general guidelines:

  • Take the medication as directed. Do not change the amount or the schedule.
  • Ask what side effects could occur. Report them to your doctor.
  • Talk to your doctor before you stop taking any prescription medication.
  • Plan ahead for refills if you need them.
  • Do not share your prescription medication with anyone.
  • Medications can be dangerous when mixed. Talk to your doctor if you are taking more than one medication, including over-the-counter products and supplements.
When to Contact Your Doctor

Call your doctor immediately if you experience any unusual symptoms, including:

Revision Information

  • Coe FL, Evan A, Worcester, E. Kidney stone disease. J Clin Invest. 2005;115(10):2598-2608.

  • Diclofenac (Systemic). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated January 18, 2013. Accessed April 22, 2013.

  • Hydromorphone. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated March 15, 2013. Accessed April 22, 2013.

  • Ibuprofen. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated January 18, 2013. Accessed April 22, 2013.

  • Indomethacin. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated January 18, 2013. Accessed April 22, 2013.

  • Kidney stones in adults. National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse website. Available at: Updated January 28, 2013. Accessed April 16, 2013.

  • Moe OW. Kidney stones: pathophysiology and medical management. Lancet. 2006;367(9507):333-344.

  • Morphine. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated January 18, 2013. Accessed April 22, 2013.

  • Nephrolithiasis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated March 22, 2013. Accessed April 16, 2013.

  • What are kidney stones? Urology Care Foundation website. Available at: Accessed April 16, 2013.

  • 11/29/2006 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance Hollingsworth JM, Rogers MA, Kaufman SR, et al. Medical therapy to facilitate urinary stone passage: a meta-analysis. Lancet. 2006;368(9542):1171-1179.