Edema (cont.)

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What is the treatment for patients with idiopathic edema who have become dependant on diuretics?

Patients with idiopathic edema often become dependent on diuretics, and this dependence may be difficult to interrupt. A period as long as three weeks off diuretics may be required to break the dependency cycle. The withdrawal from diuretics may lead to fluid retention that produces major discomfort and swelling. Moreover, there are definite risks associated with the prolonged use of diuretics in these individuals, which are compounded by the tendency to increase the doses of the diuretics.

As a result of chronic diuretic use and abuse, people may develop:

  • A deficiency of potassium
  • Depletion of blood volume in the blood vessels
  • Kidney insufficiency or failure

Other side effects of diuretics include:

Although withdrawal from diuretics is the most important factor in treating these patients, other medications have been used to try to minimize the fluid retention. These medications include ACE inhibitors, low-dose amphetamines, ephedrine, bromocriptine (Parlodel), or levodopa-carbidopa (Sinemet) in combination. However, their effectiveness is uncertain and side effects of these drugs may occur. For example, hypotension (low blood pressure) may be seen with the use of ACE inhibitors, especially if the patient is also taking diuretics.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/13/2015

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Edema - Effective Treatments Question: What kinds of treatments have been effective for edema?
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Edema - Signs and Symptoms Question: In addition to swelling, what were your signs and symptoms associated with edema?
Edema - Salt Intake Question: If you've had edema, in what ways do you adjust your salt intake?
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