In 1960, the FDA approved chlorthalidone for hypertension (high blood pressure). However, doctors were unsure whether this therapy could benefit patients with advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD) who had high blood pressure. According to U.S. Medicine, a recent study found that chlorthalidone could help these patients better control and manage blood pressure. As a result, this therapy could be used, in the future, to stop CKD progression and worsening.
Interested in learning more? Take a look at the full study findings published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
To begin, what exactly is chlorthalidone? According to drugs.com, chlorthalidone is:
a thiazide diuretic (water pill) that helps prevent your body from absorbing too much salt, which can cause fluid retention. Chlorthalidone treats high blood pressure (hypertension) [and] fluid retention in people with congestive heart failure, cirrhosis of the liver, or kidney disorders.
In the CLICK trial, researchers evaluated chlorthalidone for patients with advanced (Stage IV) CKD with poorly managed hypertension. Altogether, 160 patients enrolled. During the trial, patients received either 12.5mg chlorthalidone daily (to up to 50mg daily after increasing doses) or a placebo. Findings from the study show that:
- Chlorthalidone significantly reduced hypertension as compared to a placebo. Additionally, the treatment also halved albuminuria (too much albumin in the urine).
- Since albuminuria is a sign of CKD, it is especially promising to see such a high reduction. In the future, chlorthalidone could stop CKD from progressing, halt kidney failure, and reduce hospitalizations related to heart failure.
- While chlorthalidone was relatively safe and well-tolerated, some adverse reactions did occur. These include dizziness, elevated uric acid levels in the blood, high blood sugar, increased serum creatinine, and low potassium levels.
- Researchers believe that chlorthalidone could be a relatively cheap and accessible treatment option for patients with advanced CKD and hypertension.
- Doctors should be cautious about providing chlorthalidone to patients who are also using loop diuretics, as the combination can heighten serum creatinine levels.
Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)
Also known as chronic kidney failure, chronic kidney disease (CKD) is lasting and progressively worsening kidney damage. Normally, the kidneys filter waste and excess fluids from the blood. These wastes are then excreted from the body through urine. However, CKD prevents the kidneys from working as effectively as possible. As a result, fluids, wastes, and electrolytes accumulate in the blood and cause health issues. CKD typically occurs following another condition, including diabetes (T1 or T2), glomerulonephritis, polycystic kidney disease, urinary tract obstruction, or recurrent kidney infections. Symptoms associated with CKD include:
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes)
- Appetite loss
- Fatigue and general malaise
- Changes in urination
- Stunted growth
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Hepatosplenomegaly (liver and spleen enlargement)
- High blood pressure
- Muscle cramping
- Swelling of the feet and ankles
- Pruritus (persistent and intense itchiness)
- Shortness of breath