What is the mechanism of action of HCTZ? How does HCTZ work in the body?
Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) is a thiazide diuretic. Diuretics work by increasing the amount of fluid excreted by the kidneys. HCTZ reduces the amount of salt (sodium chloride) reabsorbed from the urine by the body in the kidneys at place call the distal convoluted tubule. Basically it causes the body to let go of more salt than normal and it takes water with it. However, this can increase the amount of calcium the body brings back into the kidneys – increasing the risk of stones.
Since it does effect electrolytes, HCTZ can cause reduced levels of potassium. Be sure that your healthcare provider is monitoring your electrolyte levels if you use HCTZ. Sometimes you may see HCTZ paired with a potassium sparing diuretic like triamterene to offset the potassium imbalance. The dosage of hydrochlorothiazide may need to be adjusted if you become faint or dizzy from electrolyte problems.
HCTZ is one of several different types of water pills used to manage fluid and blood pressure. Also, talk to your doctor if you feel you need to adjust your dose or believe you may be experiencing side effects. Be sure to let your healthcare provider know if you have a history of kidney stones before you start HCTZ.
Don’t forget diet and lifestyle can have a huge effect on blood pressure and other conditions. That could possibly reduce the need for medications like HCTZ. Never make changes in diet or lifestyle without your doctor’s permission.