What Are Thiazides?

Jackie Myers

Thiazides are found in medications that are used to treat hypertension. Patients who take these medications may experience a wide variety of symptoms, including erectile dysfunction, dizziness and fainting, sensitivity to sunlight, and decreased potassium levels. Herbs such as licorice, dandelion, and juniper should be avoided when taking these drugs. Thiazides can prevent the formation calcium kidney stones and be used as diuretics. Doctors do not recommend using them to treat osteoporosis.

A medical professional checks a man's blood pressure. Thiazides can help lower high blood pressure.
A medical professional checks a man's blood pressure. Thiazides can help lower high blood pressure.

One of the symptoms associated with thiazides can cause problems with erection in men. Dizziness and fainting can make operating heavy machinery or driving a vehicle hazardous. Some patients have reported their skin becoming sensitive to sunlight while taking thiazides. Potassium supplements may be prescribed to raise decreased potassium levels.

Thiazides can prevent the formation of calcium kidney stones.
Thiazides can prevent the formation of calcium kidney stones.

Several herbs should not be taken with thiazide medications. Licorice can increase the side effects of potassium depletion, and dandelion and juniper may produce cardiovascular effects. Patients should consult with their doctor before taking any herbs while on this medication.

Patients with high levels of calcium in their urine may develop kidney stones if the calcium is allowed to build up, and research has shown that thiazides can reduce these levels in the urine and help to prevent this.Thiazides also act as diuretics, removing water from the body, and doctors may combine thiazides with other medications to help treat a variety of conditions.

Those who restrict their sodium intake and are in the process of lowering their blood pressure should only have a low dosage of diuretics. The use of thiazide diuretics may cause many essential vitamins and nutrients to become depleted. Studies show that people who have been taking a thiazide medication for more than six months had significantly lower levels of folic acid. Sodium levels are also reduced due to the diuretic effects.

Thiazide medications do not benefit those with osteoporosis for a variety of reasons. When these medications are taken for a long period of time, they will affect calcium levels, increasing the levels of calcium in the bloodstream by decreasing the amount excreted and affecting vitamin D absorption. Thiazides also impair the ability to synthesize specific enzymes that are necessary for normal heart function.

Experts recommend that medications containing thiazides be taken early in the day. Taking them with milk or food reduces upset stomach. The prescribing physician should be informed of any previous medical issues, especially liver problems, allergies, and gout.

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