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. Most work by making your kidneys release more sodium into your urine. The sodium then takes water with it from your blood. That decreases the amount of fluid flowing through your blood vessels, which reduces pressure on your vessel walls.

Examples of diuretics

There are three types of diuretics: thiazide, loop and potassium-sparing. Each type affects a different part of your kidneys and 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)
  • Chlorthalidone
  • Hydrochlorothiazide (Microzide)
  • Indapamide
  • Metolazone

Examples of loop diuretics include:

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

Examples of potassium-sparing diuretics include:

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

Some pills combine more than one type of diuretic or combine a diuretic with another blood pressure medication.

June 10, 2016 See more In-depth