What are they for?
Diuretics are sometimes called ‘water tablets’. They help your kidneys get rid of excess fluid by making you pass more urine. They can:
- Reduce swelling
- Relieve shortness of breath
- Lower blood pressure
|The diuretic you are taking is:
|The dose you should take is:
How do I take them?
They are normally taken in the morning but think about when it might be best for you to take them and ask your doctor or nurse about it. Remember that taking them later in the day may cause you to need the toilet during the night causing disturbed sleep. Try to take them no later than 4pm.
What are the main side effects?
- Going to the toilet more during the day and possibly at night.
- Dizziness or light-headedness.
- Gout (a condition where uric acid and salts build up in the joints, causing pain). Diuretics may cause gout or, if you already have gout, make it worse. But gout can be treated.
Which side effects should I tell my doctor or nurse about?
- Any difficulty passing urine
- Passing much less urine than normal
- Dizziness or light-headedness (if it’s a new symptom).
What else do I need to know?
Weigh yourself each morning – before dressing, after going to the toilet, before eating. If your weight increases by more than 2 to 4lb (1kg) every day for more than two days – increase your daily dose of diuretic by one tablet. If your weight has not returned to normal after three days contact your doctor or nurse.
Diuretics can alter the balance of water, salts and minerals in your body because they make you pass a lot of urine. If you have heart failure you should already be on a low-salt diet. Having too much salt will counteract the effects of the diuretics. It’s also important to avoid using salt substitutes as these contain potassium which may have an effect on your blood test results.
Dehydration is common in patients taking water tablets. If your fluid intake is restricted or if you are unsure about your symptoms, speak to your doctor or nurse. You should have a blood test every six months to check that your kidneys are working properly. Some people may have to have more frequent checks depending on their condition, or if their medication has changed.
If you have diarrhoea, vomiting or an illness that stops you eating or drinking normally please stop your diuretic until this settles. Once settled, you can restart taking it at your usual dose.
South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust would like your feedback. If you wish to share your experience about your care and treatment or on behalf of a patient, please contact The Patient Experience Department who will advise you on how best to do this.
This service is based at The James Cook University Hospital but also covers the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton, our community hospitals and community health services.