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Diuretics & Low Potassium

By Chris Passas

Certain diuretics have the potential to lower your body's potassium levels as your body loses potassium through urination. Diuretics act to lower blood pressure by eliminating sodium and excess water from your body through urine, but excessive urination may also eliminate potassium that your body needs to remain healthy. However, there are diuretics available that prevent excessive loss of potassium.

Symptoms of Low Potassium

Low potassium levels in your body can lead to intestinal paralysis that manifests as bloating, constipation and abdominal pain, according to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University. Further symptoms of low potassium, or hypokalemia, include fatigue as a result of damage, cramps or spasms in the muscles. Medline Plus, an online resource of the National Institutes of Health, reports that a prolonged potassium deficiency can lead to kidney damage. A severe drop in your body's potassium levels can cause dangerous or fatal arrhythmia, according to The University of Maryland Medical Center warns that hypokalemia is always an immediate cause to seek medical attention.

Potassium-Wasting Diuretics

Diuretics that eliminate potassium from your body fall under the classifications of thiazide diuretics, for individuals with normal kidney function, and loop diuretics, for individuals with impaired kidney function, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Thiazide diuretics include hydrochlorothiazide, chlorothiazide or Diuril, indapamide or Lozol, and metolzaone or Zaroxolyn. Loop diuretics include furosemide or Lasix, bumetanide or Bumex, torsemide or Demadex, and ethacrynic acid or Edecrin. The Linus Pauling Institute also cautions against potassium-wasting diuretics such as acetazolamide, chlorthalidone and quinethazone.

Potassium-Sparing Diuretics

There are diuretics available that keep your body from losing excessive potassium through urine. According to, these potassium-sparing diuretics include spironolactone or Aldactone, eplerenone or Inspra, and triamterene or Dyrenium. Medline Plus also lists amiloride as a potassium-sparing diuretic.


Individuals who take diuretics should not try to compensate for low potassium levels by taking a potassium supplement without first consulting a doctor. The University of Maryland Medical Center warns about the potential for side effects as a result of harmful interactions between even potassium-sparing diuretics and potassium supplements. Because of this risk, individuals who take potassium-sparing diuretics should discuss their condition with their doctor to determine whether potassium supplements will be beneficial or even necessary.

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