What to Know Before Taking Triamterene-Hydrochlorothiazide
What is triamterene-hydrochlorothiazide?
Triamterene-hydrochlorothiazide is a water pill or diuretic used for the treatment of edema (fluid retention) and high blood pressure. This medication is usually prescribed to patients who have low amounts of potassium in the body or individuals who are at an increased risk of having low levels of potassium in the body.
Triamterene-hydrochlorothiazide can either be used alone or in combination with other medications. It can also be used for the treatment of other conditions as prescribed by the doctor. Triamterene-hydrochlorothiazide is a combination of a thiazide diuretic known as hydrochlorothiazide and a potassium-sparing diuretic called triamterene.
This medication works by helping the kidneys eliminate sodium and water from the body and lower blood pressure levels. The triamterene component is known to reduce the loss of potassium.
High blood pressure is a quite common condition nowadays. It usually affects individuals who live a stressful life. If this medical condition is not treated on time, then it can lead to serious life-threatening complications such as damage to the blood vessels, brain, heart, kidneys, and other important parts of the body.
All of these organs are vital and damage to any of these organs can lead to certain medical conditions such as stroke, loss of vision, heart attack, kidney failure, heart failure, and other heart-related problems. Apart from taking medication, it is quite important for the individual to make certain changes in their lifestyle such as dietary changes to effectively control one's blood pressure level. Other lifestyle changes include:
- Consuming a healthy diet that is low in sodium and fat
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol intake
- Carrying out physical activities in the form of exercises such as brisk walking or running for at least 30 minutes a day
- Do not take this medication if you are allergic to any of its contents and other forms of sulfonamide such as sulfamethoxazole.
- This medication is not recommended for people who are unable to pass urine, have a severe kidney problem, or high levels of potassium in the blood.
- Do not take this medication if you are already taking other potassium diuretics such as spironolactone or amiloride as well as drugs that contain triamterene, which is a substitute salt that contains potassium or dofetilide.
To prevent certain side effects or drug interactions, it is important to let the doctor know if any of the following conditions apply to you:
- If you are pregnant or planning to conceive
- If you are breastfeeding
- If you are taking any prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, certain herbal preparations, dietary supplements, or vitamins.
- If you are allergic to any food, substances, or medications
- If you have a history of kidney stones or have an irregular heartbeat
- If you have liver problems such as cirrhosis as well as gout, heart disease, diabetes, or lupus
- If you are currently on a low sodium diet
- If you have problems related to elevated levels of blood uric acid, dehydration, blood electrolyte imbalance, or a dip in folic acid levels
- If you are under digoxin treatment or other blood pressure medications
- If you are scheduled for surgery, which includes dental surgery
- Avoid consuming alcohol while on treatment since it can lead to dizziness or lack of mental alertness
Taking a combination of drugs may not always be good. The doctor is the best person to guide on which combination of medicines would work well and will not interrupt in the treatment process. Hence it becomes very much important to inform the doctor if you are taking any prescription or non-prescription medications.
- Amphotericin B, corticotrophin, and certain corticosteroids such as prednisone can lead to an increased risk of having an electrolyte imbalance in the blood if they are taken along with triamterene-hydrochlorothiazide.
- Few of chemotherapy medicines and dofetilide can lead to an increased risk of serious side effects.
- Eplerenone (aldosterone blocker), potassium supplements, amiloride or spironolactone (potassium-sparing diuretics) or salt substitutes that contain potassium can lead to an increased risk of high blood pressure.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs such as indomethacin can decrease the effectiveness of triamterene-hydrochlorothiazide along with increasing the chances of kidney problems.
- Decreased effectiveness of anticoagulants such as warfarin or methenamine if they are taken along with triamterene-hydrochlorothiazide.
- Angiotensin-converting enzymes or ACE inhibitors such as enalapril can lead to an increased risk of high levels of potassium in the blood and kidney issues.
- Increased risk of digoxin, lithium, and diazoxide side effects if they are taken along with triamterene-hydrochlorothiazide.
Triamterene-hydrochlorothiazide should be taken exactly as prescribed by the doctor. You can also check the label of the medicine for more detailed instructions on dosing. This medication can be taken orally either with or without food. If you experience stomach upset, then it is better to consume the medication with food to reduce stomach irritation.
Taking this medication can increase the amount of urine leading to frequent urination. To avoid frequent toilet visits at bedtime, you can take the medicine as early as 6 pm.
For those individuals who are taking colestipol or cholestyramine, they need to first consult their doctor if they can take triamterene-hydrochlorothiazide. Individuals who have high blood pressure levels often complain of tiredness or fatigue during the first few weeks of treatment. Inform your doctor if you do not feel normal or if you experience unusual symptoms.
Triamterene-hydrochlorothiazide comes in the form of oral tablets and capsules. This medicine is usually taken just once a day. For best results, try to take the medicine at the same time daily. Do not increase or reduce the dosage of the drug without your doctor’s advice. Moreover, avoid extending the medicine dosage for more than the recommended period.
If you missed a dose of triamterene-hydrochlorothiazide, then take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is time for the next dose, then skip the missed one and follow the regular dosing schedule. Avoid taking two doses at the same time or else it can lead to an overdose, which can cause serious side effects.
Remember that triamterene-hydrochlorothiazide only helps control edema and high blood pressure, and does not permanently cure these conditions. Do not suddenly stop taking this medicine even if you already feel fine to avoid the symptoms from coming back. Make sure to complete the entire dose of the medicine and do not stop taking it unless otherwise advised by your doctor.
- Triamterene-hydrochlorothiazide causes dizziness in certain patients. This side effect could worsen if an individual consumes alcohol or other similar types of medicine. Always make sure to use triamterene-hydrochlorothiazide with caution. Do not drive or perform any activities, which would need mental alertness.
- Avoid unnecessary and long exposure to sunlight. As much as possible, wear full clothing, apply sunscreen, and wear sunglasses when you step out in the sun. The use of triamterene-hydrochlorothiazide over a period of time can make your skin quite sensitive to sunlight.
- Triamterene-hydrochlorothiazide is known to cause certain side effects such as dizziness when trying to get up from a sitting or lying down position. Such symptoms tend to show in the initial days when the individual starts taking triamterene-hydrochlorothiazide. Thus, to avoid any of these symptoms, it is best to get out of bed very slowly and make sure to rest your feet on the floor for at least a few minutes before standing up.
- Triamterene-hydrochlorothiazide has a sulfonamide component called hydrochlorothiazide, which can lead to certain eye conditions such as myopia and angle-closure glaucoma.
- If there is a continuous case of vomiting, urination, and diarrhea, then the individual can easily get dehydrated. In such cases, the doctor can guide you on the appropriate dosing schedule.
- Triamterene-hydrochlorothiazide is known to have an impact on the blood sugar levels. For this reason, individuals must regularly check their blood sugar levels when they are under triamterene-hydrochlorothiazide treatment. Moreover, avoid changing the dosage of your diabetes medications. Always consult your doctor for the proper dosing.
- During the course of treatment with triamterene-hydrochlorothiazide, the doctor would regularly order certain tests to properly monitor the functioning of your liver, lungs, kidneys, levels of electrolytes in the blood, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure. These tests would be carried out to check or monitor any side effects caused by the drug.
- When it comes to the elderly, triamterene-hydrochlorothiazide should be used with caution since older adults tend to be more sensitive to the effects of certain medications, especially when they have high levels of potassium in the blood.
Any type of medication can have certain levels of side effects. Some drugs may only cause minor side effects, while others have serious or life-threatening ones. For this reason, before starting any type of medication, it is best to discuss the drug side effects with your doctor, so you'll know what to expect. The common side effects of triamterene-hydrochlorothiazide are:
- Severe headaches
- Loss of appetite
- Feeling dizzy
These are only minor side effects, which mostly go away in a couple of days or weeks. However, if they tend to become severe or do not go away even after a couple of days or weeks, then it is best to inform your doctor at the earliest.
The severe side effects associated with the medication include:
- Tingling sensations in the hands and legs
- Pain in the chest or chest tightness
- Allergic reactions such as hives
- Persistent nausea and vomiting
- Stomach pain
- Shortness of breath
- Changes in vision
- Blisters on the skin or swelling
- Yellowing of the skin and eyes similar to jaundice
- Symptoms indicating high blood pressure, which lead to increased thirst and hunger
- Fast heartbeat
- Skin flushing