oa SA Pharmaceutical Journal - Diuretics : a review for the pharmacist : review

Volume 81, Issue 7
  • ISSN : 2221-5875
  • E-ISSN: 2220-1017



Diuretics are among the most commonly prescribed medications. They inhibit electrolyte reabsorption from the lumen of the nephron, increasing osmolarity and enhancing water and electrolyte excretion. It is important to note that there is a delicate balance between dietary sodium intake and sodium loss. If the balance is compromised and there is a greater intake of sodium into the body, but not enough sodium removal, complications of fluid overload occur, such as oedema, pulmonary oedema or high blood pressure. When there is greater removal of sodium, but not enough sodium intake, complications of fluid depletion take place, such as renal failure or reduced output of blood from the heart. The ability to induce a negative fluid balance has made diuretics useful in the treatment of a variety of conditions, particularly in hypertension and oedematous states.

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