Diuretics are important therapeutic tools. First, they effectively reduce blood pressure and have been shown in numerous hypertension clinical trials to reduce both cardiovascular and cerebrovascular morbidity and mortality. In addition, their use has been equally effective in controlling cardiovascular events as angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or calcium channel blockers. Diuretics are currently recommended by the Seventh Report of the Joint National Commission on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure report as first-line therapy for the treatment of hypertension. In addition, they remain an important aspect of congestive heart failure treatment in that they improve the congestive symptomatology, which typifies the more advanced stages of congestive heart failure. This article reviews the commonly encountered side effects with the various diuretic classes. Where indicated, the mechanistic basis and treatment of such side effects is further discussed.