Diuretics (water tablets) reduce blood pressure making kidneys excrete salt and water. Diuretics are together with ACE inhibitors and calcium channel blockers, most commonly antihypertensives. Apart from blood pressure control, diuretics are also used to treat heart failure to improve breathlessness and remove excess fluid.

Types of diuretics

  • Thiazide diuretics - bendroflumethiazide, indapamide, hydrochlorothiazide, chlorthalidone and metolazone
  • Loop diuretics - furosemide and bumetanide
  • Potassium-sparing diuretics - amiloride, spironolactone, and eplerenone

Side effects

Diuretics are usually well tolerated. Thiazide and loop diuretics reduce the potassium level in the blood, which may affect heart rhythm and kidney function. Some diuretics also increase the sugar levels in the blood and may predispose to diabetes. It is essential to have regular blood samples every six months to check kidney function and glucose level in the blood. Diuretics' possible side effects include headaches, muscle cramps, increased thirst, joint pain, and dizziness.

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