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Diuretics, sometimes called water pills, treat a variety of conditions, such as high blood pressure, glaucoma and edema. Find out more about this class of medication.By Mayo Clinic staff
Diuretics, sometimes called water pills, help rid your body of salt (sodium) and water. They work by making your kidneys put more sodium into your urine. The sodium, in turn, takes water with it from your blood. That decreases the amount of fluid flowing through your blood vessels, which reduces pressure on the walls of your arteries.
Examples of diuretics
There are three types of diuretics: thiazide, loop and potassium-sparing. Each works by affecting a different part of your kidneys, and each may have different uses, side effects and precautions. Which diuretic is best for you depends on your health and the condition being treated.
Examples of thiazide diuretics include:
- Hydrochlorothiazide (Microzide)
- Metolazone (Zaroxolyn)
Examples of loop diuretics include:
- Ethacrynic acid (Edecrin)
- Furosemide (Lasix)
- Torsemide (Demadex)
Examples of potassium-sparing diuretics include:
- Eplerenone (Inspra)
- Spironolactone (Aldactone)
- Triamterene (Dyrenium)
Different types of diuretics may also be combined into one pill.Next page
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- High blood pressure: Medicines to help you. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/byaudience/forwomen/ucm118594.htm. Accessed Sept. 30, 2010.
- Kaplan NM, et al. Indications and contraindications to the use of specific antihypertensive drugs. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Sept. 30, 2010.
- Chobanian AV, et al. The seventh report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure. New England Journal of Medicine. 2003;289:2560.