Diuretics

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:

  • Chlorothiazide (Diuril)
  • Hydrochlorothiazide (Microzide)
  • Indapamide
  • Metolazone (Zaroxolyn)
  • Chlorthalidone

Examples of loop diuretics include:

  • Bumetanide
  • Ethacrynic acid (Edecrin)
  • Furosemide (Lasix)
  • Torsemide (Demadex)

Examples of potassium-sparing diuretics include:

  • Amiloride
  • Eplerenone (Inspra)
  • Spironolactone (Aldactone)
  • Triamterene (Dyrenium)

Different types of diuretics may also be combined into one pill.

Feb. 01, 2014 See more In-depth