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Medicines for Ascites

Diuretics, such as spironolactone and furosemide, are a key treatment for ascites. They help the kidneys eliminate salt and water from the body. When diuretic medicines are combined with a low-salt diet, 90 out of 100 people are able to control their ascites.1

Side effects of diuretics may include:

Higher doses can cause excess fluid loss from the body (dehydration), decreased kidney function (renal insufficiency), and fainting, especially in older adults. People who are taking diuretics to treat ascites caused by cirrhosis need to have their body weight, electrolytes, and kidney function carefully monitored while taking the medicines.

People who continue to have ascites despite the standard treatment with diuretics and a low-sodium diet may need additional treatments, such as repeated paracentesis.

Citations

  1. Runyon BA (2009). Management of adult patients with ascites due to cirrhosis: An update. Hepatology, 49(6): 2087–2107.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerW. Thomas London, MD - Hepatology
Last RevisedJanuary 17, 2012

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 17, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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