What they do

Diuretics help your body to get rid of excess fluid by encouraging your kidneys to make more urine. You will find that you urinate more (pass more water) when you take them – but this is nothing to worry about. You may need to plan trips out around the timings of your tablets or sometimes you can change the time you take the tablets. Ask your doctor or nurse about this. Getting rid of this excess fluid should make it easier for your heart as there is less fluid to pump around your body. This should ease the congestion in your lungs, making your breathing easier. Swelling (Oedema) in your legs and other parts of your body should also go down. This may result in weight loss.

What are the expected benefits?

Diuretics will ease the symptoms of heart failure, in particular, they will reduce breathlessness and swelling caused by fluid retention.

Side effects

Long-term diuretic use can cause you to lose potassium, a salt which is needed for your body and heart to work properly. That’s why your doctor will monitor your potassium levels with regular blood tests and may advise you to eat more foods containing potassium.

Diuretics may also make you pass water more often. If too high doses of diuretic are taken you may become dehydrated and possibly feel dizzy.

Top tips

It is a good idea to weigh yourself daily and keep a note of your weight to discuss with your doctor or nurse – this will help you to monitor if you are losing too much or too little fluid, so they can adjust your diuretic dose if necessary.

Some people find it best to take diuretics in the morning so that the need to pass water occurs mainly during the day – taking them in the evening can interrupt your sleep.

Also known as:

  • Amiloride
    (Amilamont®, Midamor®)
  • Bendroflumethazide / bendrofluazide
    (Aprinox®, Neo-NaClex®)
  • Bumetanide
  • Chlorothiazide
  • Chlortalidone
  • Cyclopenthiazide
  • Eplerenone
  • Furosemide / frusemide
    (Froop®, Frusid®, Rusyde®, Frusol®, Lasix®)
  • Hydrochlorothiazide
  • Indapamide
    (Natrilix®, Apo-Indapamide®, Arifon®, Bajaten®, Cormil®, Damide®, Fludex®, Gen-Indapamide®, Idapamide®, Indaflex®, Indamol®, Indapamida®, Indapamidum®, Ipamix®, Lozide®, Lozol®, Natrilix®, Natrix®, Noranat®, Novo-Indapamide®, Nu-Indapamide®, Pressurai®, Tandix®, Tertensif®, Veroxil®)
  • Metolazone
    (Metenix®, Zaroxolyn®)
  • Polythiazide
    (Renese®, Minizide®, Nindaxa®, Natrilix SR®, Nephril®)
  • Spironolactone
  • Torsemide / torasemide
    (Demadex®, Torem®)
  • Triamterene
    (Dytac®, Dyrenium®)
  • Xipamide
  • Combination agents
    (Moduret®, Amil-Co®, Moduretic®, Navispare®, Frumil LS®, Froop-Co®, Fru-Co®, Aridil®, Burinex A®, Triam-Co®, Dytide®, Kalspare®, Frusene®, Aldactide®, Lasilactone®, Burinex K®, Centyl K®, Diumide-K®, Lasikal®, Neo0NaClex-K®, Dyazide®)


Animation explaining how diuretics
work in heart failure

Return to Heart failure medicines


ESC Guidelines for Heart Failure

What patients need to know

This guide for patients from the European Society of Cardiology aims to provide an overview of the latest evidence-based recommendations for the diagnosis and treatment of heart failure.

In particular, it should help patients to understand the:

  • main types of heart failure
  • medicines used to treat heart failure
  • devices that may be appropriate
  • importance of rehabilitation
  • management by a multidisciplinary team
  • importance of self-care in managing your own condition

Learn more


A series of 9 simple, captivating animations explaining heart failure and its treatment.

These narrated animations explain how a healthy heart works, what happens to it in heart failure and how various treatments work to improve your health.


In this section you can watch, listen or read interviews with other people with heart failure and their caregivers.


and share your own views and experiences with other patients, families and caregivers.

heartfailurematters.org is a European Society of Cardiology website

The heartfailurematters.org website was developed under the direction of the Heart Failure Association of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). The ESC is a world leader in the discovery and dissemination of best practices in cardiovascular medicine. Our members and decision-makers are healthcare professionals who volunteer their time and expertise to represent professionals in the field of cardiology in Europe and beyond.

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