BACKGROUND A recent large-scale case-control study on analgesic nephropathy (SAN)  found no increased risk of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in users of combined or single formulations of phenacetin-free analgesics. In a subgroup of 22 high users, however, a dose-dependent increased risk was found, which raised the question if these patients presented or not with analgesic nephropathy (AN). METHODS The individual questionnaires of this subgroup of high users were reviewed, and the total lifetime intake of different types of analgesics was calculated. For evidence of AN, the following data were considered: (1) the amount and type of analgesics consumed, (2) the cause of ESRD, as diagnosed by the nephrologist in charge of the patient and (3) renal imaging and other relevant laboratory data. RESULTS This group of ESRD patients consumed on average 7.8 kg of antipyretic analgesics (range 30.8-2.7 kg) over an average of 21.5 years (range 35-6 years). Single analgesics were exclusively used by 12 patients (54.5%) and combined analgesics by 5 patients (22.7%), while 5 patients used both. None of the patients was diagnosed as having AN, and a review of the questionnaires did not disclose evidence suggestive of AN. The possibility that, irrespective of AN, the analgesic (ab)use contributed to the progression of existing renal diseases cannot be answered in the absence of well-defined criteria. The data supporting the existence of such an analgesic-associated nephropathy (AAN) are, however, not consistent and most likely due to confounding by indication. CONCLUSION In a group of ESRD patients with high use of non-phenacetin analgesics, no evidence of AN was found. There is no evidence that (ab)use of analgesics or NSAIDs other than phenacetin leads to a pathologically or clinically defined renal disease that could be named AN or AAN.