Diuretics are medicines that help reduce the amount of water in the body. Diuretics are used to treat the buildup of excess fluid in the body that occurs with some medical conditions such as congestive heart failure, liver disease, and kidney disease. Some Diuretics are also prescribed to treat high blood pressure. These drugs act on the kidneys to increase urine output. This reduces the amount of fluid in the bloodstream, which in turn lowers blood pressure. There are several types of Diuretics, also called water pills which includes loop Diuretics, thiazide Diuretics and potassium-sparing Diuretics
Consult your physician periodically while taking Diuretics. This may help you prevent serious side effects. Because Diuretics increase urine output, people who take this medicine may need to urinate more often, even during the night. Health care professionals can help patients schedule their doses to avoid interfering with their sleep or regular activities.
People who take Diuretics may lose too much water or potassium when they get sick, especially if they have severe vomiting and diarrhea. They should check with their physicians if they become ill.
These medicines make some people feel lightheaded, dizzy or faint when they get up after sitting or lying down. Older people are especially likely to have this problem. Drinking alcohol, exercising, standing for long periods or being in hot weather may worsen your problem. Avoid drinking too much alcohol and be careful in hot weather or when exercising or standing for a long time.
Some side effects, such as loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea and dizziness, usually lessen or go away as the body adjusts to the medicine. These problems do not need medical attention unless they continue or interfere with normal activities.
Patients taking potassium-sparing Diuretics should know the signs of too much potassium and should check with a physician as soon as possible if any of these symptoms occur:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Breathing problems
- Numbness or tingling in the hands, feet or lips
- Confusion or nervousness
- Unusual tiredness or weakness
Patients taking Diuretics that cause potassium loss should know the signs of too little potassium and should check with a physician as soon as possible if they have any of these symptoms:
- Fast or irregular heartbeat
- Weak pulse
- Nausea or vomiting
- Dry mouth
- Excessive thirst
Diuretics may interact with other medicines. The drugs that may interact with Diuretics are:
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors such as Benazepril (Lotensin), Captopril (Capoten) and Enalapril(Vasotec), used to treat high blood pressure. Taking these drugs with potassium-sparing Diuretics may cause levels of potassium in the blood to be too high, increasing the chance of side effects.
- Cholesterol-lowering drugs such as Cholestyramine (Questran) and Colestipol (Colestid). Taking these drugs with
combination Diuretics such as Dyazide and Maxzide may keep the diuretic from working. Take the diuretic at least 1 hour before or 4 hours after the cholesterol-lowering drug.
- Cyclosporine (Sandimmune), a medicine that suppresses the immune system. Taking this medicine with potassium-sparing
Diuretics may increase the chance of side effects by causing levels of potassium in the blood to be too high.
- Potassium supplements, other medicines containing potassium, or salt substitutes that contain potassium. Taking these
with potassium-sparing Diuretics may lead to too much potassium in the blood, increasing the chance of side effects.
- Lithium, used to treat bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness). Using this medicine with potassium-sparing Diuretics may allow lithium to build up to poisonous.
The list above does not include all the drugs that may interact with Diuretics. Check with a physician or pharmacist before combining Diuretics with any other (over-the-counter) medicine.