Are certain diuretics also anticonvulsants?

Ann Neurol. 2001 Oct;50(4):458-62. doi: 10.1002/ana.1136.


A history of diuretic use has been shown to be protective for first unprovoked seizure in adult patients. Recent animal studies suggest that certain diuretics have anticonvulsant activity. We evaluated the potential for the anticonvulsant activity of current diuretic use in a population-based, case-control study in older adults. We also tested chlorthiazide and furosemide for seizure protection in animal models of epilepsy. Concurrent medical prescription of any diuretic was protective for the development of epilepsy [odds ratio (OR) = 0.62, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.39-0.99]. A protective effect for current thiazide use was observed (OR = 0.53, CI = 0.31-0.90), and a protective effect for furosemide was suggested (OR = 0.44, CI = 0.1-1.9). In mice, both chlorthiazide and furosemide suppressed the occurrence of maximal electroshock-induced seizures in a dose-dependent manner. Chlorthiazide's toxic dose for 50% of animals tested (TD50) could not be achieved even with dosing as high as 1,500 mg/kg for furosemide; TD50 was 549 mg/kg. Results were similar in rats. Furosemide and chlorthiazide are protective for unprovoked seizures in an epidemiological study and in animal models. Given the potential therapeutic value for seizure control, low toxicity, and low cost, therapeutic efficacy should be explored in clinical studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Diuretics / therapeutic use*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Epilepsy / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Furosemide / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Hydrochlorothiazide / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Middle Aged
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sodium Chloride Symporter Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Triamterene / therapeutic use


  • Diuretics
  • Sodium Chloride Symporter Inhibitors
  • Hydrochlorothiazide
  • Furosemide
  • Triamterene