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Ammonium Chloride--- diuretic, systemic acidifier, and expectorant

Author:   Date:2015-5-4 11:07:09   Visits:
Ammonium Chloride is a combination of a labile cation and a fixed anion. When the ammonium ion is converted to urea, the liberated hydrogen ion reacts with bicarbonate and other body buffers. The end result is that chloride ion displaces bicarbonate ion; the latter is converted to CO2. Thus, the chloride load to the kidneys is increased, and an appreciable amount escapes re-absorption along with an equivalent amount of cation (predominantly sodium) and an isosmotic quantity of water. This is the basic mechanism by which ammonium chloride brings about a net loss of extracellular fluid and promotes the mobilization of edema fluid.
Ammonium Chloride has limited value when used alone for its diuretic effects. It occasionally is combined with a xanthine for short-term relief from temporary water-related weight grain, bloating, or edema associated with menstrual periods. 
The fact that ammonium chloride causes systemic acidosis makes the salt of some value in the treatment of alkalosis. It also renders the urine acidic and is prescribed for this purpose in conjunction with methenamine. In the rare instances when it is desired to produce an acidosis, ammonium chloride may be used. An example in the treatment of lead poisoning when an acidosis is desired to hasten the excretion of lead or to treat alkalosis from excessive use of alkalinizing drugs.   


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