Hydrochlorothiazide is employed to reduce calcium excretion in patients with urinary stone disease secondary to renal leak hypercalciuria. Because the drug also has been reported to be a competitive inhibitor of oxalate excretion by the renal tubules, we sought to determine whether chronic use indeed affected the amount of oxalate excreted. Patients taking hydrochlorothiazide 50 mg daily did not have a statistically significant reduction in twenty-four-hour urinary oxalate on their customary diets (pretreatment 37 +/- 3 mg/day [mean +/- S.E.M.; N = 22]; at one year 36 +/- 3 mg/day [N = 22]; at two years 37 +/- 3 mg/day [N = 16]). In 12 patients who voluntarily collected twelve-hour urine specimens after dinner on the third day of a low-oxalate diet and again the next day after a 1 g oxalate load, hydrochlorothiazide had no significant effect on oxalate excretion (19 +/- 2.3 mmol oxalate/mol creatinine on hydrochlorothiazide versus 20.6 +/- 2.6 mmol off the drug after low oxalate meal; 50 +/- 7.8 mmol/mol creatinine on hydrochlorothiazide versus 56.2 +/- 7.5 mmol off the drug after an oxalate load). As expected, there was a significant reduction in urinary calcium excretion and thus of calcium oxalate urinary saturation during hydrochlorothiazide administration. Hydrochlorothiazide by itself is not sufficient to reduce oxalate excretion in patients with renal leak hypercalciuria.