'Epidemic' diuretic overuse is harming seniors, researcher says

Share this article:
'Epidemic' diuretic overuse is harming seniors, researcher says
'Epidemic' diuretic overuse is harming seniors, researcher says

Diuretics are widely prescribed for conditions affecting the elderly without proper consideration of the drugs' side effects, according to recently published research. 

Writing in the current issue of JAMDA, Martin Wehling, M.D., coined the term “morbus diureticus” to describe what he calls the "syndrome" of inappropriate diuretic prescribing. There is an “epidemic overuse” of these drugs for conditions such as arterial hypertension, heart failure and renal disease, he argued.

Among the diuretic side effects that have “particular relevance” for seniors, Wehling named electrolyte disturbances such as hypokalemia and hyponatremia. Hypokalemia is associated with sudden death related to cardiac arrhythmia, and hyponatremia can damage the brain. Diuretic overdose is “common” among heart failure patients, according to Wehling. Diuretics known as thiazides are associated with diabetes onset. 

In addition to eroding the health of residents, inappropriate diuretic prescribing could undermine providers' efforts to reduce hospitalizations. Diuretics rank among the five leading drug classes associated with hospitalizations for adverse reactions, according to Wehling.

Clinicians should institute a number of practices to diagnose inappropriate administration of diuretics, Wehling proposed.

Share this article:

More in News

Double homicide at Houston nursing home; victims' roommate arrested

Double homicide at Houston nursing home; victims' roommate ...

A double murder occurred late Tuesday night in a Houston nursing home room shared by four men, according to local authorities. Police arrested Guillermo Correa on suspicion of beating two ...

$2 million HIPAA settlement highlights mobile device risks facing healthcare providers

Laptops and other mobile devices containing personal health information have been stolen from long-term care ombudsman programs and other healthcare organizations, including from Concentra Health Services and QCA Health Plan Inc. Now, Concentra and QCA have agreed to legal settlements totaling nearly $2 million, federal ...

Long-term care nurses often 'scramble' to get family members' blessing for palliative ...

Nursing home residents might not transition to full palliative care until they are very near death, at which point nurses and family members act in a state of crisis, suggests recently published research out of Canada.