Diuretics: A cause of low potassium?

Yes. Some diuretics, also called water pills, lower potassium in the bloodstream.

Diuretics are a common treatment for high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. They lower blood pressure by helping the body pass sodium and water through the urine. Some diuretics also cause the body to pass more potassium in the urine. This can lead to low potassium levels in the bloodstream, also called hypokalemia.

Symptoms of low potassium include:

  • A feeling of being very tired.
  • Irregular heart rhythms, also called arrhythmias.
  • Muscle cramps.
  • Weakness.

Treatment for low potassium levels may include:

  • Changing to a potassium-sparing diuretic.
  • Eating more foods that are high in potassium.
  • Taking potassium supplements.

If your potassium level is still low even after taking steps to raise it, talk with your healthcare team. You may need tests to help find the cause.

Potassium-sparing diuretics don't lower potassium levels. Examples include amiloride (Midamor), spironolactone (Aldactone, Carospir), eplerenone (Inspra) and triamterene (Dyrenium). But these medicines might raise your potassium levels. Your healthcare team may check your potassium levels during treatment.

Last Updated Apr 25, 2024

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