Thalitone Use Linked To Increased Risk of Kidney, Electrolyte Problems: Study

The findings of a new study suggest the side effects of the blood pressure drug Thalitone may increase the risk of kidney and electrolyte problems, potentially leading to chronic kidney disease and kidney failure.

In findings published this month in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers with Observational Health Data Sciences and Informatics in New York compared the safety and effectiveness of Thalitone (chlorthalidone) against hydrochlorothiazide, often known as HCTZ.

Both medications are diuretics designed to lower blood pressure. While researchers found that it may be no more effective than HCTZ, there appear to be a raft of side effects and complications with Thalitone, which raise concerns about use of the drug.

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In 2017, the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association issued hypertension guidelines, which recommended thiazide-like diuretics, like Thalitone and HCTZ, be used as front-line drugs in the treatment of high blood pressure. The guidelines specifically chose Thalitone. However, researchers in this latest study warn that there had been no large, randomized trials comparing the two drugs.

In this new report, researchers looked at data on more than 730,000 people who took one of the two drugs between January 2001 through December 2018. They looked for evidence of heart attacks, hospitalization for heart failures, strokes and other potential side effects.

While the researchers did not find any difference between the two drugs when it came to heart risks, they found an increased risk of several renal problems associated with Thalitone use.

According to the findings, patients taking Thalitone faced nearly triple the risk of hypokalemia, or extremely low potassium levels. This can lead to an imbalance in electrolytes which can result in heart rhythm problems. There was a 31% increased risk of hyponatremia, or low sodium; and Thalitone appeared to increase the risk of acute renal failure by 37%; chronic kidney disease by 24% and type 2 diabetes by 21%; when compared to HCTZ. On the plus side, it caused less weight gain than HCTZ.

The researchers said the results were consistent across three different databases.

“Our findings based on currently available data and the most recent advances in observational research do not support the use of chlorthalidone over hydrochlorothiazide,” the researchers concluded. “This study found that chlorthalidone use was not associated with significant cardiovascular benefits when compared with hydrochlorothiazide, while its use was associated with greater risk of renal and electrolyte abnormalities.”


  • BerthaApril 10, 2020 at 8:37 pm

    Was on chlorthalidone for a long time. VA Dr. just took me off it. Have one kidney since birth, and just had stent in heart done. Think that is a dangerous drug.

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