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Thiazides for Kidney Stones

Examples

Generic Name Brand Name
chlorthalidone Thalitone
hydrochlorothiazide Microzide, Oretic

How It Works

Thiazides reduce the amount of calcium in the urine, which may prevent calcium kidney stones.

Why It Is Used

Thiazides may prevent the formation of calcium kidney stones, especially if changing your diet and drinking more fluids have not helped.

How Well It Works

People who take thiazides may get fewer calcium stones as they did before taking this medicine.1

Side Effects

All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.

Here are some important things to think about:

  • Usually the benefits of the medicine are more important than any minor side effects.
  • Side effects may go away after you take the medicine for a while.
  • If side effects still bother you and you wonder if you should keep taking the medicine, call your doctor. He or she may be able to lower your dose or change your medicine. Do not suddenly quit taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.

Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:

  • Trouble breathing.
  • Swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor right away if you have symptoms of changes in potassium levels:

  • Confusion
  • Dry mouth or increased thirst
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Muscle cramps or pain
  • Numbness or tingling in your hands, feet, or lips

Call your doctor if you have:

  • Hives.

Other side effects of this medicine include:

  • Loss of appetite.
  • Nausea.
  • Stomachaches.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

You may feel more tired or need to urinate more often when you start taking this medicine. These effects typically occur less after you have taken the medicine for a while. If the increase in urine interferes with your sleep or daily activities, ask your doctor to help you plan a schedule for taking the medicine.

Thiazides can make your skin more sensitive to the sun.

  • Stay out of the sun, if possible.
  • Wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and a hat, if possible.
  • Use sunscreen with an SPF that your doctor recommends.

Ask your doctor if you need to take a potassium supplement or if you need to watch the amount of potassium in your diet. Your doctor may suggest you get extra potassium, because thiazides lower your potassium levels.

Taking medicine

Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.

There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.

Advice for women

If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or trying to get pregnant, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant.

Checkups

You will likely have regular doctor visits to check the potassium levels in your blood.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF)new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.

References

Citations

  1. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (2012). Recurrent Nephrolithiasis in Adults: Comparative Effectiveness of Preventive Medical Strategies (AHRQ Publication No. 12-EHC049-EF). Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Also available online: http://effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/ehc/products/274/1035/kidney-stones-prevention-report-130409.pdf.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Tushar J. Vachharajani, MD, FASN, FACP - Nephrology
Last Revised May 2, 2013

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