Revisiting diuretic choice in chronic kidney disease

Document Type



Office of the Provost; Cardiology


Purpose of review: Existing guidelines offer little direction about the use of thiazide and loop diuretics in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). This review summarizes recent studies impacting indications and safety considerations for these agents in patients with CKD.
Recent findings: Chlorthalidone reduces blood pressure compared to placebo in patients with advanced CKD, challenging the belief that thiazide diuretics lose efficacy at lower glomerular filtration rates (GFR). Existing studies show no clear impact of thiazide or loop diuretic use on kidney or cardiovascular outcomes in patients with CKD. Sodium-glucose co-transporter type 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors have diuretic effects, but concomitant use of a diuretic does not diminish the preventive benefits of these agents against acute kidney injury (AKI). Despite theoretical concerns, thiazide diuretics likely do not worsen circulating vasopressin levels or cyst progression in polycystic kidney disease and may be useful for alleviating polyuria from tolvaptan. Diuretics cause multiple adverse effects, including electrolyte abnormalities, hemodynamic-mediated decrease in estimated GFR, and AKI.
Summary: Recent evidence supports expanded indications for diuretics in patients with kidney disease, including chlorthalidone for hypertension in advanced CKD. Monitoring electrolytes and estimated GFR is critical to ensure patient safety when prescribing these agents for patients with CKD.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Current opinion in nephrology and hypertension