News Perspectives

Potassium May Cut Death Rates with Diuretics

Giving extra potassium to everyone taking "water pills" might help people with heart failure live longer, a study suggests. Loop diuretics are often given for heart failure, which can cause people to retain fluid. Loop diuretics remove fluid through urine. But this also removes the important mineral potassium. The new study looked at Medicaid and death records for people in 5 states. Researchers focused on 360,000 Medicaid patients who began taking loop diuretics (often called "water pills") in a 6-year period. About half of them were prescribed potassium pills at the same time they got their first diuretic prescription. They were compared with similar patients who did not get potassium pills. About 9% of those in the study died each year. But death rates were lower for those who received a prescription for potassium at the same time as the loop diuretic.

To continue reading this article you must be registered.

Get Licensed Content to Harvard Health

If you are interested in licensing content from Harvard Health Publications, please contact us using our online form. Our licensing and business development professionals will help you leverage consumer health content from Harvard Medical School as a clear differentiator in helping achieve your business goals.

Contact Us

Customer Log In