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What are Diuretics

Diuretics (also called 'water pills' or 'fluid pills' ) are drugs that increase urine production in the kidneys, promoting the removal of salt and fluid from the body. There are several types of diuretics. Each type works in a distinct way in a different part of the kidney.

Loop diuretics prevent re-absorption of sodium and chloride ions in the Loop of Henle. Thiazide diuretics inhibit sodium re-absorption at the beginning of the distal convoluted tubules. Potassium sparing diuretics prevent excessive loss of potassium at the distal convoluted tubules. Carbonic anhydrase diuretics inhibit transport of bicarbonate into the renal interstitium from the proximal convoluted tubule.

Diuretics are used to treat conditions that are associated with fluid retention, such as heart failure, kidney failure and cirrhosis of the liver. They are also effective at reducing blood pressure and are used in the treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure). Carbonic anhydrase diuretics are mainly used in the treatment of glaucoma.

Types of Diuretics

Please refer to the drug classes listed below for further information.