What is the role of non-potassium-sparing diuretics in the development of hypokalemia (low potassium level)?

Updated: Dec 06, 2018
  • Author: Eleanor Lederer, MD, FASN; Chief Editor: Vecihi Batuman, MD, FASN  more...
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Answer

Of patients taking non–potassium-sparing diuretics, 20-50% develop hypokalemia. African Americans and women are more susceptible. The higher frequency of hypokalemia in the former group may be from lower intake of potassium in African-American men (approximately 25 mEq/day) than in their white counterparts (70-100 mEq/day). Risk of hypokalemia in patients taking diuretics is enhanced by concomitant illness, such as heart failure or nephrotic syndrome.


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