Diuretics (water tablets) reduce blood pressure making kidneys to 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 for treatment of 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 normally well tolerated. Thiazide and loop diuretics reduce amount of potassium in the blood and may affect heart rhythm and kidney function. Some of them also increase sugar level in the blood and may predispose to diabetes. It is important to have regular checks at least every six months to check kidney function and glucose level in the blood. Headaches, muscle cramps, increased thirst, joint pain and dizziness are some other possible side effects of diuretics.

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