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September 1987

The Value of Serum Magnesium Determination in Hypertensive Patients Receiving Diuretics

Author Affiliations

From the General Medicine Service, Department of Medicine, Brooke Army Medical Center, San Antonio, Tex.

Arch Intern Med. 1987;147(9):1553-1556. doi:10.1001/archinte.1987.00370090033006

• Some clinicians contend that hypomagnesemia is a common problem in patients receiving diuretic therapy and that routine serum magnesium determinations may be indicated in such patients. We determined serum magnesium (Mg++) levels in 354 patients with uncomplicated hypertension. No significant difference was observed in the mean Mg++ between the 245 diuretic-treated patients and the 109 patients not receiving diuretics, 0.965 vs 0.97 mmol/L (1.93 vs 1.94 mEq/L). When analyzed by type of diuretic, there were statistically significant differences in the mean serum Mg++ concentrations between those receiving thiazides, 0.94 mmol/L (1.87 mEq/L); those receiving no diuretics, 0.97 mmol/L (1.94 mEq/L); and those receiving triamterene-containing diuretics, 1.01 mmol/L (2.01 mEq/L). These absolute differences, however, were clinically quite small, and hypomagnesemia was uncommon. Neither patient age, the duration of diuretic use, nor the serum potassium level correlated with Mg++. With respect to dose, those receiving 100 mg/d of hydrochlorothiazide had the lowest Mg++ concentrations and the greatest prevalence of hypomagnesemia (12%), defined as Mg++ less than 0.75 mmol/L (1.5 mEq/L). Serum Mg++ need not routinely be determined in patients with uncomplicated hypertension who are receiving triamterene-containing diuretics or low-dose (50 mg/d or less) hydrochlorothiazide.

(Arch Intern Med 1987;147:1553-1556)