The Effect of Thiazide and Potassium Citrate Use on the Health Related Quality of Life of Patients with Urolithiasis

J Urol. 2018 Dec;200(6):1290-1294. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2018.06.023. Epub 2018 Jun 18.


Purpose: To our knowledge it is unknown whether the benefits of medical management of urolithiasis outweigh the potential side effects of the medications used, including potassium citrate and thiazide diuretics. Therefore, we evaluated the relationship between potassium citrate or thiazides and overall stone related health related quality of life.

Materials and methods: Cross-sectional data were obtained on stone forming enrollees in the North American Stone Quality of Life Consortium. We used the WISQOL (Wisconsin Stone Quality of Life) questionnaire to compare health related quality of life between patients treated and not treated with potassium citrate or thiazide type diuretics. Additionally, the likelihood of gastrointestinal complaints was compared between those prescribed and not prescribed potassium citrate. The likelihood of fatigue and sexual complaints was also compared in those prescribed and not prescribed thiazides.

Results: Of the 1,511 subjects, including 787 males and 724 females, 279 were on potassium citrate and 238 were on thiazides at study enrollment. Patients prescribed potassium citrate had higher health related quality of life in each domain vs those not prescribed potassium citrate (p <0.001). Patients prescribed thiazides had higher health related quality of life in each domain compared to those not prescribed thiazide (all p <0.01). Those prescribed potassium citrate were less likely than those not prescribed potassium citrate to report nausea, stomach upset or cramps (OR 0.57, p <0.001). Patients prescribed thiazides were less likely than those not prescribed thiazides to report fatigue (OR 0.63, p = 0.004) or reduced sexual interest and/or activity (OR 0.64, p = 0.005).

Conclusions: Among stone formers the use of potassium citrate and thiazides was associated with better health related quality of life across all WISQOL domains without an increased likelihood of gastrointestinal complaints and fatigue or sexual complaints, respectively. These findings may be useful when counseling patients regarding the initiation of potassium citrate or thiazides for medical management of nephrolithiasis.

Keywords: kidney calculi; potassium citrate; quality of life; sodium chloride symporter inhibitors; surveys and questionnaires.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Fatigue / chemically induced
  • Fatigue / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / chemically induced
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Potassium Citrate / adverse effects*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / chemically induced
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / epidemiology
  • Sodium Chloride Symporter Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / statistics & numerical data
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Urolithiasis / drug therapy*


  • Sodium Chloride Symporter Inhibitors
  • Potassium Citrate