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Am J Med. 1987 Mar 20;82(3A):30-7.

Magnesium depletion, diuretics, and arrhythmias.


Increasing information on the potentially serious risks of potassium and magnesium depletion associated with diuretic therapy demands a clinical focus on understanding the factors involved and on methods for preventing these electrolyte deficiencies. Data suggest that serum potassium and magnesium levels may be normal in the presence of tissue depletion, but decreases in serum levels are almost always associated with tissue and whole-body depletion of these electrolytes in patients in whom such depletion cannot be risked. Ventricular ectopy has also been associated with depletion of potassium and magnesium, which may explain the increased risk of sudden unexpected death in hypertensive patients. Any clinician who treats hypertension or congestive heart failure must consider whether to replete potassium and magnesium in patients already receiving diuretic therapy, or, better still, consider how to prevent depletion of these electrolytes in patients in whom such depletion cannot be risked. If prevention is selected, the clinician must then evaluate the data on available diuretic combinations for efficacy in electrolyte conservation, bioavailability, and dosage convenience. The combination of triamterene and hydrochlorothiazide (Maxzide, 75 mg triamterene/50 mg hydrochlorothiazide) has demonstrated electrolyte conservation, with bioavailability and dosage convenience.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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