• biochemical bone markers;
  • bone mineral density;
  • loop diuretics;
  • osteoporosis;
  • postmenopausal women;
  • PTH


Background.  Loop diuretics (LD) are widely used in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases and disorders with fluid accumulation. LD are known to increase renal calcium losses and may thereby affect calcium homeostasis and bone metabolism.

Objective.  We studied to what extent long-term treatment with LD affects calcium homeostasis and bone metabolism.

Design and subjects.  In a cross-sectional design we compared 140 postmenopausal women treated with a LD for more than 2 years with 140 age-matched women not in diuretic therapy.

Results.  Treatment with LD was associated with significantly increased urinary calcium, plasma parathyroid hormone (PTH) and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D levels. Per 40 mg day−1 of furosemide, urinary calcium was increased by 17% (P < 0.05) and plasma PTH levels were increased by 28% (P = 0.04). Users of LD had a 17% higher body weight (P < 0.001) compared with nonusers. This was due to a 32% higher fat mass (P < 0.001) and a 6% higher lean tissue mass (P < 0.001). Moreover, users of LD had a higher bone mineral density (BMD) at the spine (+7.5%, P < 0.001), hip (+4.8%, P = 0.004), forearm (+3.7%, P = 0.01) and whole body (+2.5%, P = 0.06). However, after adjustment for body weight differences, BMD did not differ between groups. Nevertheless, duration of LD treatment was positively associated with BMD at the spine (P = 0.03) and whole body (P < 0.05). BMD at the spine increases by 0.3% per 1 year of treatment.

Conclusions.  The increased renal calcium losses in users of LD are compensated for by a PTH-dependent increase in 1,25(OH)2D levels. Thereby calcium balance remains neutral without major effects on bone metabolism.