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Drugs That Dissolve Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are tiny crystals that form in the urinary tract from minerals in urine 1. Even through they are commonly called kidney stones, the crystals can form anywhere in the urinary tract, including the bladder or the ureters, the tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder 1. The medical term for the occurrence of kidney stones is urolithiasis 1. Often, kidney stone naturally pass from the system and require no medical intervention. However, sometimes doctors may prescribe medications to help break down the crystals. Different types of crystals are formed from different substances and require different types of medication.

Diuretics

The most common type of kidney stone is formed from calcium. These calcium stones are commonly treated with diuretics, medications that increase urine volume and decrease the amount of calcium excreted into urine by the kidneys. In rare cases, calcium stones are treated with phosphate solutions, which reduce the amount of calcium released into the bloodstream.

Allopurinol and Citrates

Uric acid is another substance that sometimes forms kidney stones 1. This type of stone is often treated with a medicine called allopurinol, which is sold under the brand names Zyloprim or Aloprim. Allopurinol reduces uric acid levels in the blood and urine. At the same time, doctors often prescribe a medicine that makes urine less acidic such as:

  • sodium citrate; potassium citrate
  • sold as K-Lyte
  • Polycitra-K or Urocit-K; or magnesium citrate
  • sold as Citroma
  • Citro-Nesia

Alkalizing Agents

A rare type of kidney stone is formed from cystine. These are the hardest types of kidney stones to treat 1. Similar to uric acid stones, the first treatment given to treat cystine stones are medications that make the urine less acidic, these are called alkalizing agents. If alkalizing agents are not successful, patients are often prescribed medications that lower cystine concentration, such as d-penicillamine or alpha-mercaptopropionylglycine, sold as tiopronin, or captopril.

Antibiotics

Another type of kidney stone, struvite stones, is caused by bacterial infections 1. Unlike other types of kidney stones, struvite stones must first be treated by surgery to remove the stones 1. After surgery, antibiotics are often prescribed to prevent bacterial infections from recurring.

The Wrap Up

Kidney stones are tiny crystals that form in the urinary tract from minerals in urine. These calcium stones are commonly treated with diuretics, medications that increase urine volume and decrease the amount of calcium excreted into urine by the kidneys. Uric acid is another substance that sometimes forms kidney stones. A rare type of kidney stone is formed from cystine. Unlike other types of kidney stones, struvite stones must first be treated by surgery to remove the stones.

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