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Diuretics

Antidiuretic medications include:

Hydrocortisone, or anesthetized corticosteroids, for use in the treatment of hyponatremia—irritable heart syndrome (IHS). It is used as an antihypertensive at high doses to lower blood pressure. It is effective for only about one month. It has been shown to be of unknown effectiveness beyond one year. As with diuretics, it does not protect against water loss from the body. Antidiolytic drugs are used along with antidiuretics when the water loss is substantial and other measures to replace lost fluid are inadequate.

Calcium channel blockers, or calcium channel blocker medications, for use in the treatment of anemia (low blood calcium). It is used as a water-retaining agent when blood pressure has decreased to a high level, as it may be caused by acute myocardial infarction (heart attack). It can be used only as a water-retaining agent. Calcium channel blockers have no effect on urine volume.

Beta-blockers, for use in the treatment of hypertension. Beta-blockers have no effect on urine volume, but may increase salt absorption, leading to an increase of the volume of urine.

Hypokalemia, the loss of water through evaporation, is one of the most common and serious side effects of medications used in the treatment of hypertension. Hydrocortisone and potassium restriction (tapering) can decrease salt absorption, but only a very small percentage of patients experience this effect. A drug called sodium bicarbonate (Buccalic acid) may decrease the concentration of sodium in the urine, and some drugs are used to correct salt retention.

In addition, several drugs used in the treatment of hypertension are antinutrients: sodium bicarbonate and sodium azide. A water-saver drug called hydroxyurea (Azacent) is an important part of the arsenal of medications used to prevent and treat fluid overload. Many antinutrients, in addition to calcium channel blockers, may also be used in the treatment of hypertension.

The effects of diuresis on blood pressure

The effect of diuresis on blood pressure was recognized long ago. A great deal of research has been conducted, as have a number of drug agents that exert diuresis upon blood pressure. The results of these studies can be used as evidence against diuresis, and in many cases are persuasive.

Diuretics such as diuretics or calcium channel blockers decrease the blood supply to the body's extremities, causing blood to flow through the skin, veins, arteries, and through the skin into the venous system. When the blood reaches the heart, it is absorbed into the bloodstream. The effects can reduce blood pressure.

Diuretics are sometimes used as an alternative to antidiuretic drugs. A diuretic is used before the usual antidiuretic regimen (diuretic therapy) as an aid to normal hydration and is not meant to replace an ordinary antidiuretic. When used, diuretics are usually applied to the affected area. Many people find that a diuretic can relieve symptoms such as mild dehydration during weight loss. Diuretics can be used alone or with other therapies. Some diuretics require a prescription, but others can be obtained over the counter. Diuretics are sometimes used on a short-term basis. They generally should be used for 24-48 hours after the antidiuretic regimen is stopped, until a proper flush occurs. Diuretics should not be used on a day when the body is dehydrated.

There are a few diuretics which don't increase the excretion of fluid in urine. These include lansoprazole (Nexium), the anticholinergic medication phenobarbital (Pentelab), and the antidiuretic drug levothyroxine (T3).

Diuretics are not needed for long periods of time. They should not be used for weight loss or a period as long as 6 months.

The effectiveness of diuretics is not known at this time.