Medications for Calcium Stones
Diuretics. Diuretics are medicines commonly used to treat high blood pressure and other disorders. They remove fluid and sodium from the body. Low doses of a class of diuretics known as thiazides are sometimes used to reduce the amount of calcium the kidneys release into the urine. Thiazides include:
- Hydrochlorothiazide (Esidrix, HydroDIURIL)
- Chlorothiazide (Diuril)
- Trichlormethiazide (Metahydrin, Naqua)
- Chlorthalidone (Hygroton)
However, thiazides also cause potassium loss, which reduces citrate levels and can increase the risk for stones. Patients taking thiazide pills should also take potassium citrate to prevent citrate loss. Amiloride (Midamor) is a potassium-sparing diuretic, which may be used if a thiazide does not work.
Citrates. Citrate salts are often given to people with calcium oxalate or uric acid stones:
- Potassium magnesium citrate is available over the counter. It is proving to be very beneficial in preventing kidney stones.
- Potassium citrate (such as K-Lyte, Polycitra-K, and Urocit-K) is the only treatment given to people with normal urine calcium levels. Between 70% - 75% of patients with recurrent stones have ongoing remission (no stone recurrence) with potassium citrate treatment. However, some people cannot tolerate potassium citrate because of side effects (stomach problems).
- Magnesium citrate (such as Citroma and Citro-Nesia) may help people who develop calcium stones from impaired intestinal absorption due to short bowel disease.
Review Date: 06/08/2010
Reviewed By: Reviewed by: Harvey Simon, MD, Editor-in-Chief, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.