What is diuretics?

Diuretics: Overview

Diuretics cause your kidneys to remove sodium and water. They also relax the blood vessel walls. These things can help lower your blood pressure, which reduces your risk of a heart attack and stroke. Lowering your blood pressure also reduces your risk of kidney disease.

Diuretics are also used to treat conditions like kidney disease, heart failure, and liver disease. They can help relieve symptoms caused by fluid buildup, such as swelling.


A diuretic is a substance that removes water from the body by promoting urine formation and the loss of salt (sodium).

Caffeine and alcohol are common diuretics.

Diuretic medicines include furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide, and spironolactone. These medicines may be used to help treat conditions such as heart failure, hypertension, or liver or kidney disease.

What are some examples of diuretics?

Here are some examples of diuretics.

  • bumetanide
  • chlorthalidone
  • furosemide
  • hydrochlorothiazide
  • torsemide

What are some cautions about taking diuretics?

  • You may need to take potassium pills. Ask your doctor about this.
  • You may need blood tests to check on your health. For example, you may have tests to check your kidneys and your potassium level.
  • Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning to become pregnant.
  • You may feel more tired or need to urinate more often when you start to take this medicine. These effects tend to occur less after you've taken it for a while. If the increase in urine gets in the way of your sleep or daily routine, talk to your doctor. Ask for help planning a schedule for taking the medicine.
  • Check with your doctor or pharmacist before you use any other medicines. This includes over-the-counter medicines. Make sure your doctor knows all of the medicines, vitamins, herbal products, and supplements you take. Taking some medicines together can cause problems.

Diuretics: Making Them Easier to Take

What are the side effects of taking diuretics?

There are some common side effects. They include:

  • Low levels of potassium.
  • Feeling dizzy.
  • A rash.
  • Urinating a lot.

You may have other side effects. Check the information that comes with your medicine.

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