Despite being the most essential nutrient, water is commonly forgotten in the fields of pharmacy and nutrition. Hydration status is determined by water balance (the difference between water input and output). Hypohydration or negative water balance is affected by numerous factors, either internal (i.e., a lack of thirst sensation) or external (e.g., polypharmacy or chronic consumption of certain drugs). However, to date, research on the interaction between hydration status and drugs/excipients has been scarce. Drugs may trigger the appearance of hypohydration by means of the increase of water elimination through either diarrhea, urine or sweat; a decrease in thirst sensation or appetite; or the alteration of central thermoregulation. On the other hand, pharmaceutical excipients induce alterations in hydration status by decreasing the gastrointestinal transit time or increasing the gastrointestinal tract rate or intestinal permeability. In the present review, we evaluate studies that focus on the effects of drugs/excipients on hydration status. These studies support the aim of monitoring the hydration status in patients, mainly in those population segments with a higher risk, to avoid complications and associated pathologies, which are key axes in both pharmaceutical care and the field of nutrition.
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