Annette (Gbemudu) Ogbru, PharmD, MBA
Dr. Gbemudu received her B.S. in Biochemistry from Nova Southeastern University, her PharmD degree from University of Maryland, and MBA degree from University of Baltimore. She completed a one year post-doctoral fellowship with Rutgers University and Bristol Myers Squibb.
In this Article
- What are diuretics and how do they work?
- For what conditions are diuretics used?
- Are there differences among diuretics?
- What are side effects of diuretics?
- What are the drug interactions of diuretics?
- Examples of diuretics
- Thiazides diuretics
- Loop diuretics
- Potassium sparing diuretics
- Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors
- Osmotic diuretics
- Nonprescription diuretics
Are there differences among diuretics?
A major difference among diuretics is the level of potency. Potency variation is due to the differences in the sites of action of diuretics on the kidney structure.
Loop diuretics are the most potent diuretics as they increase the elimination of sodium and chloride by primarily preventing reabsorption of sodium and chloride. The high efficacy of loop diuretics is due to the unique site of action involving the loop of Henle (a portion of the renal tubule) in the kidneys.
Thiazide diuretics increase the elimination of sodium and chloride in approximately equivalent amounts. They do this by inhibiting the reabsorption of sodium and chloride in the distal convoluted tubules in the kidneys.
In the distal tubule, potassium is excreted into the forming urine coupled with the reabsorption of sodium. Potassium-sparing diuretics reduce sodium reabsorption at the distal tubule, thus decreasing potassium secretion. Potassium-sparing diuretics when used alone are rather weak, hence they are used most commonly in combination therapy with thiazide and loop diuretics.
Osmotic diuretics are low-molecular-weight substances that are filtered out of the blood and into the tubules where they are present in high concentrations. They work by preventing the reabsorption of water, sodium and chloride.
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