Can I use Over the Counter Water Pills to Meet My Weight Loss Goals?

Published: August 14, 2023
Jordan Louis
By Jordan Louis, 2025 PharmD Candidate
Melody Berg
By Melody Berg, PharmD, MPH, BCPS

Now is the time you may be finally ready to take your New Year’s Resolution of weight loss a bit more seriously. While exploring different things to do to shed a few pounds, a friend suggests taking an over-the-counter water pill. Is this an actual option, though?

What is available?
In nearly every pharmacy, you will most likely find the water pill Diurex with ease. It can also be found in grocery stores and even ordered online through Amazon. Diurex contains pamabrom as its main ingredient, which has water-relieving effects like drinking a cup of coffee or caffeinated tea.

What are water pills taken for?
Over the counter (OTC) water pills, such as Diurex, are meant to help relieve discomfort caused by bloating, temporary water weight gain, swelling and full feelings related to premenstrual or menstrual periods. After one dose, you’ll have the urge to release any additional water your body is holding onto by encouraging urination for fast relief from feeling heavy or weighed down.

What does my pharmacist want me to know about OTC water pills?
Water pills should be taken with a full glass of water and can be repeated after six hours if necessary. If your urine appears to temporarily be darker or have more of a golden color, this is normal and should not cause concern. It is important to understand, though, that OTC water pills are only intended to relieve bloating symptoms associated with premenstrual and/or menstrual cycles and are not meant to aid in permanent weight loss.

What safety concerns should I have?
To avoid dehydration and electrolyte imbalances, it’s important to drink adequate amounts of water (between six and eight glasses) throughout the day. If bloating symptoms remain for over 10 days straight, or any new symptoms come about, consider contacting your primary provider.

Who should not use water pills (diuretics)?
In general, Diurex is a safe option for treating bloating. Some water pills may also contain additional ingredients such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or caffeine, so it’s important to be mindful of what you’re picking up to avoid accidentally taking too much of one thing.

Remember, Diurex is a great short-term option for bloating and other discomforts associated with your menstrual cycle. It is not, however, a reliable or safe option for permanent weight loss. Consider adding frequent exercise and well-balanced diets to your routine to achieve a healthier lifestyle or speak with your primary provider for other methods to aid in your weight loss journey.

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