West J Med. 1979 Oct;131(4):277-84.


Mannitol may be useful clinically both as a diuretic and as an obligate extracellular solute. As a diuretic it can be used to treat patients with intractable edema states, to increase urine flow and flush out debris from the renal tubules in patients with acute tubular necrosis, and to increase toxin excretion in patients with barbiturate, salicylate or bromide intoxication. As an obligate extracellular solute it may be useful to ameliorate symptoms of the dialysis disequilibrium syndrome, to decrease cerebral edema following trauma or cerebrovascular accident, and to prevent cell swelling related to renal ischemia following cross-clamping of the aorta. Largely unexplored uses for mannitol include its use as an osmotic agent in place of dextrose in peritoneal dialysis solutions, its use to maintain urine output in patients newly begun on hemodialysis, and its use to limit infarct size following acute myocardial infarction.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / drug therapy
  • Antidotes
  • Cardiovascular System / drug effects
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / drug effects
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / drug therapy
  • Coronary Disease / drug therapy
  • Diuretics, Osmotic
  • Humans
  • Intraocular Pressure / drug effects
  • Kidney / drug effects
  • Kidney Transplantation
  • Mannitol / administration & dosage
  • Mannitol / pharmacology*
  • Oliguria / drug therapy
  • Renal Dialysis
  • Water-Electrolyte Imbalance / prevention & control


  • Antidotes
  • Diuretics, Osmotic
  • Mannitol