mercurial diuretic

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mercurial diuretic

any one of several diuretic agents that contain mercury in an organic chemical form. The principal use for the drugs is in treating edema of cardiac origin, ascites associated with cirrhosis, or oliguria in the nephrotic stage of glomerulonephritis. Immediate fatal reactions have occurred, usually as a result of ventricular failure after intravascular injection and transient high concentration of mercury in the blood. Flushing, urticaria, fever, and nausea and vomiting are common side effects. Thrombocytopenia, neutropenia, agranulocytosis, systemic mercury poisoning, and severe hypersensitivity reactions are among the more serious adverse effects of the mercurial diuretics. The drugs are contraindicated for use in the presence of renal insufficiency or acute nephritis. Because of the toxicity of these drugs, current practice usually recommends their replacement with more convenient and less toxic diuretics.


1. increasing urine excretion or the amount of urine.
2. an agent that promotes urine secretion.

aldosterone antagonist diuretic
affects tubular function by blocking the sodium retention activity of aldosterone. See also spironolactone.
aminouracil d's
heterocyclic compounds similar to xanthines and with similar effects. See xanthine diuretics (below).
benzothiazide d's
exert their effect on the proximal part of the renal tubule preventing resorption of sodium. Called also thiazide diuretics. The best known members of the group are chlorothiazide and its derivatives.
carbonic anhydrase inhibitor d's
inhibit carbonic anhydrase activity and inhibit ion exchange mechanisms especially that of sodium and potassium ions. See also acetazolamide.
loop of Henle d's
affect the resorption of sodium in the ascending loop of Henle. Called also loop diuretic. See also furosemide, ethacrynate sodium.
mercurial diuretic
now largely displaced; the mode of action is to interfere with tubular enzyme systems so that tubular resorption is blocked. Overuse causes permanent renal damage.
osmotic d's
produce a very rapid loss of sodium and water by inhibiting their reabsorption in the kidney tubules and the loop of Henle. Mannitol is clinically the most useful of these diuretics, but it has some serious side-effects, such as pulmonary edema and congestive heart failure.
potassium-retaining d's
appear to act directly on renal tubular function. See also triamterene.
xanthine d's
have effect of stimulating cardiac activity but also have a direct effect on the renal tubules. See also theophylline.