Davidov, Michael
June 1976
Angiology;Jun1976, Vol. 27 Issue 6, p347
Academic Journal
The development of modern pharmacologic diuretic agents has revolutionized the therapy of arterial hypertension. The diuretics currently available are easily administered orally, are effective in the presence of alkalosis or acidosis, are non-toxic and have a low incidence of side effects which are readily circumvented or treated. Loop diuretics such as furosemide have the capacity to be effective in patients with diminished renal function or clinical situations that have a powerful stimulus to sodium retention. In clinical circumstances when renal potassium loss is to be prevented such as in patients receiving digitalis, the addition of a potassium-sparing diuretic to either a thiazide or furosemide will achieve the clinical goal of providing an effective diuresis while inhibiting potassium excretion. The mechanism of antihypertensive activity of the diuretic agents appears to be the reduction of extracellular fluid volumes and plasma volumes. Hence, the clinical dictum that to be effective as an antihypertensive agent, diuretics should be administered in diuretic doses. Besides being the cornerstone of initial antihypertensive therapy, diuretics also play an important role in antihypertensive therapy of patients with moderate to severe hypertension who are receiving potent antihypertensive drugs of the vasodilator or sympatholytic class of compounds. Indeed, one of the most important steps in the successful therapy of these patients receiving multiple drugs, is the re-assessment of the diuretic agent (Figure 5). The sodium retention and consequent fluid volume expansion associated with the administration of these potent antihypertensive agents may often cause these patients to develop apparent drug resistance since the thiazide diuretics are not potent enough to counteract the powerful stimulus to sodium retention caused by these antihypertensive agents. The re-evaluation of the diuretic agent at this point will usually necessitate the substitution of furosemide for thiazide or the doubling of the dose of the present loop diuretic. A working knowledge of the physiology of urine formation and the sites of action of currently available diuretic agents (Figure 1) will enable the clinician to tailor the diuretic agent to the clinical circumstances of an individual patient and allow the clinician to rationally select a diuretic for the treatment of arterial hypertension.


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