Furosemide Increases the Risk of Hyperparathyroidism in Chronic Kidney Disease

Am J Nephrol. 2016;43(6):421-30. doi: 10.1159/000446449. Epub 2016 May 28.


Background: Diuretics are widely used in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). While thiazide-like diuretics limit urinary calcium excretion, loop diuretics (LD) promote calcium wasting, which might facilitate the development of secondary hyperparathyroidism (HPT2). We sought to investigate, in CKD patients not on dialysis, the influence of either hydrochlorothiazide (Hydro) or furosemide (Furo) on circulating parathyroid hormone (PTH) and whether such actions are determined by the effects of these compounds on calcium excretion.

Methods: Electronic charts of all nephrology outpatients (CKD stages 2-5) who were given Hydro or Furo were included. We assessed estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), biochemical parameters and 24-hour calcium excretion. Hyperparathyroidism was defined as PTH >65 pg/ml.

Results: Out of 275 patients, 108 (29%) were taking Hydro and 167 (61%) Furo. Patients on Hydro were younger, mostly female and had higher eGFR. The median 24-hour urinary calcium excretion in the overall cohort was 41 (22, 76), being lower in Furo than in Hydro patients (37 (16, 68) vs. 47 (26, 88) mg/24 h, respectively, p = 0.016). Logistic regression showed that, after adjustment for eGFR, calcium excretion rate was found not to increase the risk ratio for HPT2, whereas Furo was a strong predictor of HPT2.

Conclusion: Furo increased the risk of HPT2 among CKD patients compared to Hydro. This effect was independent of eGFR or calcium excretion. The use of LD in CKD, currently preferred in advanced stages, should be reappraised.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Calcium / blood
  • Calcium / urine
  • Diuretics / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Furosemide / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Hydrochlorothiazide / adverse effects*
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Secondary / chemically induced*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / complications
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / drug therapy*
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / urine
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Diuretics
  • Hydrochlorothiazide
  • Furosemide
  • Calcium