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Diuretics


What do they do?

How do I take them?

Side Effects

What else should I know?

What do they do?

Diuretics (water tablets) help to remove water and salt from your body. 

There are two types of diuretic; gentle, long-acting ones called "thiazides" which are usually used to treat high blood pressure, The most common one is bendroflumethiazide (bendrofluazide).  Another is indapamide. 

The more powerful short-acting diuretics e.g. furosemide (Frusemide), bumetanide are usually used for fluid retention.


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How do I take them?

You usually take gentle, long acting diuretics by mouth once each day in the morning. The effects of bendroflumethiazide (bendrofluazide) start within 1-2 hours of taking and can make you pass more urine for the first 14 days when taking it. For many people though the bendroflumethiazide (bendrofluazide) 2.5mg dose does not usually make them pass more water. 

It is best to take the bendroflumethiazide (bendroflazide) each morning as it is easier to remember. 

The powerful, short acting diuretics can be taken once or twice a day and at any time when it is most convenient. Furosemide (frusemide) and bumetanide will make you want to start to empty your bladder about half an hour after you take them.  The effect will last for about 6 hours so if you are taking the tablets twice a day make sure you take the last dose in the afternoon at least 8 hours before going to bed.
 

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Side Effects

Diuretics don't usually cause any problems, however they can effect potassium levels in the body and your GP will check this with blood tests.  Diuretics don't usually cause any problems.  They can lower the amount of potassium in your blood but this is rare with the small doses used to lower blood pressure.

High doses of water tablets may worsen or  occasionally cause gout. 

If you think you have any side effects from this medicine, be sure to mention them to your GP, practice nurse or pharmacist. 

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What else should I know?

If you have high blood pressure after a stroke you should be on a thiazide diuretic unless it seriously disagrees with you.  If you are not, ask your GP about them.

Most people with stroke will not have to take the stronger diuretics to treat high blood pressure unless they have another illness as well. 

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