Slideshows Images Quizzes
font size

Diuretics (cont.)

Pharmacy Author:
Medical Editor:

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.

Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors work by increasing the excretion of sodium, potassium, bicarbonate and water from the renal tubules

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.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/25/2016

Women's Health

Find out what women really need.

Use Pill Finder Find it Now See Interactions

Pill Identifier on RxList

  • quick, easy,
    pill identification

Find a Local Pharmacy

  • including 24 hour, pharmacies

Interaction Checker

  • Check potential drug interactions
Search the Medical Dictionary for Health Definitions & Medical Abbreviations

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors