What are Diuretics

Diuretics are a group of agents that act on the kidneys to increase urine output. This increase in the urine output is accompanied by a loss of sodium and, sometimes, potassium salts.
Alcohol, tea, and coffee are mild, but nonmedical, diuretics.
Diuretics are used to treat virtually any disorder in which there is an excessive build-up of fluid in the body (edema).
These include disorders of the heart, liver, and kidneys.
Some weak diuretics are used to decrease excessive fluid pressure within the eyeball (glaucoma).
Diuretics are used to treat certain lung disorders in which fluid accumulates in the lung tissue (pulmonary edema). They may also be used to decrease high blood pressure (hypertension) and to treat over dosage of certain drugs.

What are the side effects of Diuretics

The adverse effects of diuretics vary according to the specific drug used.
The commonly prescribed diuretics may cause:

  • nausea, 
  • weakness, 
  • skin rashes, and 
  • allergic reactions.

All diuretics should be used with care by diabetics and by those with impaired liver or kidney function. 
Dehydration and shock can occur in some cases, especially among the elderly.
Some diuretics cause increased urinary excretion of potassium. If the level of potassium falls too low in the blood, this can result in an irregular heartbeat, especially among persons who are also taking digitalis.  Diet alone, through the eating of foods rich in potassium (for example, oranges, bananas, and peanuts), may in some cases correct this.