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Medications & Dietary Changes for Kidney Stones

NYU Langone doctors establish a treatment plan for kidney stones based on your medical history and the type of stone. It’s important to remember that after you’ve had one kidney stone, you’re more likely to develop another and may need preventive treatment.

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Depending on the type of kidney stone, your doctor may prescribe medication to help you pass an existing stone or to prevent it from growing. He or she may also recommend that you make dietary changes or take medications to prevent the return of kidney stones.

Alpha Blockers

Your doctor may prescribe a medication called an alpha blocker to help relax the muscles of the ureters—which carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder—and reduce spasms in these tubes. This can help to lessen any pain you may experience as a kidney stone passes. The use of this medication can also allow a greater number of small stones to pass more quickly, taking several days instead of several weeks.

Potassium Citrate

Your doctor may prescribe potassium citrate to help prevent kidney stones from growing larger or returning. Potassium citrate can also be used to help dissolve and prevent uric acid kidney stones.

Thiazide Diuretics

Your doctor may prescribe a thiazide diuretic, which can reduce the amount of calcium released into the urine. These include hydrochlorothiazide, chlorthalidone, or indapamide, all of which help to prevent kidney stones from returning, especially in people who have high levels of calcium in the urine.


Occasionally, our doctors prescribe allopurinol to decrease the amount of uric acid produced by the body, in order to prevent the formation of kidney stones. This medication can be particularly useful for people who have gout or a diet high in animal protein.

Dietary Changes

Your doctor may recommend that you drink more fluids to help prevent new kidney stones from forming.  He or she may also recommend dietary changes, such as decreasing the amount of animal protein in your diet, including beef, chicken, fish, and pork; eating more fruits and vegetables; and increasing your intake of calcium-rich foods.

Depending on the type of kidney stone you have, you may be asked to limit your intake of foods that are high in oxalate, such as beets, black pepper, black teas, chocolate, nuts, rhubarb, soy products, and spinach.

Our Research and Education in Kidney Stones

Learn more about our research and professional education opportunities.