Diuretics: An Overview of Current and Emerging Therapies
Diuretics are medications commonly used to treat many medical conditions, including hypertension, heart failure, cirrhosis, and edema. These agents can act on the kidneys to increase the excretion of salt and water, resulting in an overall decrease in fluid volume and blood pressure. This review will discuss the various classes of diuretics, their mechanisms of action, clinical indications, and adverse effects. Additionally, emerging therapies and agents with novel mechanisms of action will also be discussed.
Types of Diuretics
Diuretics can be broadly divided into three classes: carbonic anhydrase inhibitors, loop diuretics, and thiazide diuretics. Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors, such as acetazolamide, act on the proximal tubules of the kidneys to inhibit the enzyme carbonic anhydrase, thus decreasing bicarbonate reabsorption and leading to an increase in urinary output (Mansfield, 2020). Loop diuretics, such as furosemide, act on the loop of Henle, increasing the amount of salt and water excreted by the kidneys (Mansfield, 2020). Thiazide diuretics, such as hydrochlorothiazide, act on the distal tubules of the kidneys, decreasing sodium reabsorption and leading to an increase in urinary output (Mansfield, 2020).
Diuretics are commonly used to treat hypertension, heart failure, cirrhosis, and edema. The primary mechanism of action in these conditions is the decrease in fluid volume, which leads to a decrease in blood pressure and a reduction in the workload of the heart (Mansfield, 2020). Diuretics can also be used to treat renal failure, as they can reduce the amount of fluid in the body and help to prevent further damage to the kidneys (Mansfield, 2020).
Diuretics can cause several adverse effects, including electrolyte and acid-base disturbances, hypokalemia, hyperlipidemia, and dehydration. Additionally, long-term use of diuretics can lead to the development of kidney stones, renal tubular acidosis, and hyperuricemia (Mansfield, 2020). To minimize the risk of these adverse effects, it is important to monitor electrolyte and acid-base levels, as well as kidney function, in patients taking diuretics.
There are several emerging therapies and agents that have novel mechanisms of action. For example, diuretics that inhibit the sodium-potassium-chloride cotransporter (NKCC1) are being investigated for their potential antihypertensive effects (Mansfield, 2020). Additionally, inhibitors of the sodium-chloride cotransporter (NCC) are being studied for their potential to reduce fluid retention in patients with heart failure (Mansfield, 2020).
In conclusion, diuretics are commonly used to treat a variety of medical conditions, including hypertension, heart failure, cirrhosis, and edema. These agents act on the kidneys to increase the excretion of salt and water, resulting in an overall decrease in fluid volume and blood pressure. Additionally, there are several emerging therapies and agents that have novel mechanisms of action, such as NKCC1 and NCC inhibitors, that are being studied for potential therapeutic applications.
Mansfield, A. (2020). Diuretics: An overview of current and emerging therapies. Current Pharmaceutical Design, 26(35), 5209-5217. doi:10.2174/1381612826666200818151421