Thiazides diuretics in the treatment of nephrolithiasis:Are we using them in an evidence-based fashion?

Rebecca Vigen, Rick A. Weideman, Robert F. Reilly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


In the 1980s a change occurred in hydrochlorothiazide prescribing practices for hypertension from high-dose (50 mg/day) to low-dose (12.5-25 mg/day) therapy. However, randomized controlled trials (RCT) for prevention of calcium-containing kidney stones (CCKS) employed only high doses (C50 mg/day). We hypothesized that these practices have resulted in underdosing of hydrochlorothiazide for prevention of CCKS. Patients with a filled prescription for thiazide diuretics that underwent a 24-h urine stone risk factor analysis were eligible. Those with evidence that thiazide was prescribed for CCKS were further analyzed. Of 107 patients, 102 were treated with hydrochlorothiazide, 4 with indapamide, and one with chlorthalidone. Only 35% of hydrochlorothiazide- treated patients received 50 mg/day; a dose previously shown to reduce stone recurrence. Fifty-two percent were prescribed 25 mg and 13% 12.5 mg daily, doses that were not studied in RCT. Evidence-based hydrochlorothiazide use was suboptimal regardless of where the patient received care (Nephrology or Endocrinology clinic). In a small subset of patients (n = 6) with 24-h urinary calcium excretion measured at baseline and after 2 hydrochlorothiazide doses (25 and C50 mg), there was a trend toward decreased urinary calcium excretion as the dose was increased from 25 to C50 mg/day (p = 0.051). Low-dose hydrochlorothiazide was often used for prevention of CCKS despite the fact that there is no evidence that it is effective in this setting. This may have resulted from a practice pattern of using lower doses for hypertension therapy or a lack of knowledge of RCT results in treatment of CCKS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)813-819
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Urology and Nephrology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2011


  • Dose-response
  • Nephrolithiasis
  • Prescribing practices
  • Thiazide diuretics
  • Thiazide-like diuretics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology
  • Urology


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