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J Clin Pharmacol. 1991 May;31(5):455-61.

Hydrochlorothiazide versus spironolactone: long-term metabolic modifications in patients with essential hypertension.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine and Clinical Biochemistry, La Paz Hospital, Universidad Autónoma, Madrid, Spain.


The metabolic side effects of thiazide diuretics are believed to be responsible for the failure of thiazide diuretics to reduce cardiovascular morbidity in patients with hypertension. However, the decrease in the incidence of osteoporotic fractures that are associated with thiazide administration may be relevant in elderly patients with arterial hypertension. Spironolactone (SP) appears not to influence the metabolic risk profile of the patient with hypertension, and no studies have examined its effect on calcium metabolism. Therefore, in 22 patients with mild to moderate essential hypertension, the authors performed a parallel, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study that compared the effects on serum urate and lipid, potassium, magnesium, and calcium metabolism of hydrochlorothiazide (HC) (mean [+/- SD] dose, 72 +/- 26 mg/d) and SP (144 +/- 53 mg/d) during a 52-week period. As compared with placebo, HC significantly increased serum urate and total cholesterol concentrations, and decreased serum potassium levels. SP did not affect serum urate or cholesterol levels but increased serum potassium concentrations. Neither diuretic significantly modified magnesium metabolism. Little changes were seen in serum calcium levels during HC or SP treatment, whereas urinary calcium excretion was significantly decreased by HC (mean decrease, 45%; P less than .01) or SP (40%; P less than .01). The authors conclude that SP, in addition to its potassium-sparing properties, has a calcium-sparing effect that may be beneficial for patients in whom reduction of urinary calcium excretion has a therapeutic value.

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