Thiazide Diuretics

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What are thiazide diuretics, and how do they work?

Thiazide diuretics (water pills) are medications that are used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) and reduce fluid accumulation in the body. They work by reducing the ability of the kidneys to reabsorb salt and water from the urine and into the body thereby increasing the production and output of urine (diuresis).

What are some examples thiazide diuretics?

For what conditions are thiazide diuretics used?

Thiazide diuretics are used to treat high blood pressure and congestive heart failure as well as the accumulation of fluid and swelling (edema) of the body caused by conditions such as heart failure, cirrhosis, chronic kidney failure, corticosteroid medications, and nephrotic syndrome.

Are there any differences among the thiazide diuretics?

Thiazide diuretics are similar in effectiveness and usually are not effective in people with severe renal impairment.

What are the side effects of thiazide diuretics?

Thiazide diuretics may cause dizziness and lightheadedness, blurred vision, loss of appetite, itching, stomach upset, headache, and weakness. They also may cause increased sensitivity to sunlight, in which case, prolonged sun exposure should be avoided. Owing to their ability to increase the production of urine, these drugs may lower levels in the body of potassium and magnesium which also are present in urine.

With which drugs do thiazide diuretics interact?

Thiazide diuretics can lower potassium and magnesium blood levels since they are both eliminated in urine. Low levels of potassium and magnesium in the blood can result in abnormal heart rhythms, particularly in those who are also taking digoxin (Lanoxin) in addition to a thiazide. Thiazide diuretics can increase the risk of lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid) toxicity by reducing the kidney's ability to eliminate lithium in the urine.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/30/2014



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