In 76 consecutive patients who had received diuretics for 1-17 years for arterial hypertension or congestive heart failure, muscle concentrations of magnesium, potassium, and sodium-potassium pumps were significantly reduced compared to 31 age- and sex-matched controls. Thirty-six patients with muscle magnesium and/or potassium below the control level received oral magnesium hydroxide supplement for 2-12 weeks (n = 20) or 26 weeks (n = 16). After short-term (2-12 weeks) magnesium supplementation muscle parameters were increased, but far from normalized. After magnesium supplementation for 26 weeks, the muscle concentrations of magnesium, potassium and sodium-potassium pumps were normalized in most cases. Oral magnesium supplementation may restore diuretic-induced disturbances in the concentrations of magnesium, potassium and sodium potassium pumps in skeletal muscle. A supplemental period of at least 6 months seems to be required before complete normalization can be expected.