diuretic drugs

The diuretic drugs - Drugs that help to remove excess water from the body by increasing the amount that is lost as urine. Diuretic drugs are used in the treatment of a variety of disorders, including hypertension (high blood pressure), heart failure, the eye condition glaucoma, nephrotic syndrome (a kidney disorder), and cirrhosis of the liver.

There are various types of diuretic drug, which differ markedly in their speed and mode of action. Thiazide diuretics cause a moderate increase in urine production. Loop diuretic drugs are fast-acting, powerful drugs that are often used as an emergency treatment for heart failure. Potassium-sparing diuretics are used along with thiazide and loop diuretics, both of which may cause the body to lose too much potassium.

Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors block the action of the enzyme carbonic anhydrase, which affects the amount of bicarbonate ions in the blood; these drugs increase urine output moderately but are effective only for short periods of time. Osmotic diuretics are used to maintain urine output following serious injury or major surgery.

Diuretics may cause chemical imbalances in the blood. The most common is hypokalaemia (low blood levels of potassium). This is usually treated with potassium supplements or potassiumsparing diuretic drugs.

A diet rich in potassium may also be helpful. Some diuretics raise the blood level of uric acid, which increases the risk of gout. Certain diuretic drugs increase the blood glucose level, which may worsen diabetes mellitus.


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