Advice for new patients

Vaccinations and kidney disease

It's important that you are vaccinated against:

  • hepatitis B
  • flu (every year)
  • pneumonia  (also called the pneumo jab)

Kidney disease puts you at higher risk of catching flu. There's also a greater chance if you catch flu that it will lead to more serious illnesses, including bronchitis and pneumonia.

Flu, hepatitis B and pneumonia vaccinations are free for kidney disease patients from your local GP surgery. The flu jab is available each autumn, from September.

Read more about the flu jab.

Read more about hepatitis B vaccination

Read more about the pneumo jab.

Medicines and kidney disease

If you have kidney disease, it's important to take care with pharmacy medicines. as some can be potentially harmful. Read more about pharmacy remedies and kidney disease.

Kidney problems are aggravated by high blood pressure (hypertension) and diabetes. If you also have either of these conditions your doctor will probably prescribe long-term daily tablets to prevent kidney damage.

Blood-pressure-lowering tablets called ACE inhibitors are usually prescribed. These protect the kidneys, but can sometimes cause a cough. If that happens, a similar group of tablets known as angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) can be used.

Because kidney disease puts you at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease (heart attacks and strokes), your doctor may offer you medicines called statins. Statins lower the level of cholesterol in the blood, reducing risk of cardiovascular disease.

Severe kidney disease

Sometimes it’s not possible to stop kidney disease getting worse. If your kidney disease is already severe or in decline, your GP will refer you to a hospital-based kidney specialist team who will work out a treatment plan for you.

This may include following a special diet and taking additional medicines such as iron treatment to prevent anaemia, and vitamin D supplements for healthy bones and muscles.

The hospital team of doctors, nurses, dietitians, social workers and pharmacists will help you prepare for the possibility of going on to dialysis or having a kidney transplant.

Further info for kidney patients

Read more about the treatment of kidney disease and living with the condition.

The NKF (National Kidney Federation) has information and advice for newly diagnosed patients. To order a free leaflet or speak to an adviser, call the NKF’s helpline on 0845 601 0209 or visit its website at

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