This too shall pass—or will it?
Kidney stones are painful. Childbirth painful. In addition to pain meds, how can we help you pass that stone quickly? Now we may know.
Kidney stones (nephrolithiasis) occur in 5% – 12% of the population and frequently on Friday afternoons. Eighty percent of them are calcium oxalate stones and interestingly, 20% are in the ureter at the time you come to the ER for help. They all hurt.
You are often on your own at home to deal with them, as we have become more comfortable managing stones for outpatients, but you need to know what medications you need.
Stones that are less than 5 mm in size have an 85% chance of passing on their own. Those that are 5 – 10 mm have a 50% chance, and those larger than 8 mm have a 20% chance.
But sometimes the stones are more stubborn—is there anything else we can do?
These are two cheap, safe oral medications. If you are being tortured by a stone, this is a no-brainer.
You can find 30 capsules of tamsulosin for under $20 at many pharmacies with a coupon or using a pharmacy membership program. Prednisolone is under $10 for 30 tablets in most cases, sometimes as low as $5. Both medications should be covered by most insurance plans under Tier 1, meaning you’ll pay only your lowest copay.