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Any drug that increases the flow of urine from the body. Diuretics promote removal of excess water, salts, poisons, and metabolic wastes to help relieve edema, kidney failure, or glaucoma. Most types act by decreasing the amount of fluid that is reabsorbed by the kidney's nephrons and passed back into the blood. Diuretics that allow the body to retain potassium are used for patients with hypertension or congestive heart failure.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on diuretic, visit Britannica.com.