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Hydrochlorothiazide

Pronunciation

Generic Name: hydrochlorothiazide (HYE-droe-KLOR-oh-THYE-a-zide)
Brand Name: Generic only. No brands available.

Hydrochlorothiazide is used for:

Treating high blood pressure. It is also used to treat fluid buildup in the body caused by certain conditions (eg, heart failure, liver cirrhosis, kidney problems) or medicines (eg, corticosteroids, estrogen). It may be used alone or with other medicines. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Hydrochlorothiazide is a thiazide diuretic. It works by helping the kidneys to remove fluid from the body.

Do NOT use hydrochlorothiazide if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in hydrochlorothiazide or to another sulfonamide medicine (eg, sulfamethoxazole)
  • you are unable to urinate
  • you are taking dofetilide or ketanserin

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Slideshow: 2014 Update - First Time Brand-to-Generic Switches

Before using hydrochlorothiazide:

Some medical conditions may interact with hydrochlorothiazide. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have a history of gout, liver problems, (eg, cirrhosis), lupus, kidney problems, diabetes or high blood sugar, asthma, parathyroid gland problems, or high blood cholesterol or lipid levels
  • if you have high or low blood electrolyte levels (eg, sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium)
  • if you are taking another medicine for high blood pressure

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with hydrochlorothiazide. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Digoxin, dofetilide, or ketanserin because the risk of irregular heartbeat may be increased
  • Barbiturates (eg, phenobarbital), corticotropin, corticosteroids (eg, prednisone), other diuretics (eg, furosemide), or narcotic pain medicines (eg, codeine) because they may increase the risk of hydrochlorothiazide's side effects
  • Cholestyramine, colestipol, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) (eg, ibuprofen) because they may decrease hydrochlorothiazide's effectiveness
  • Diazoxide or lithium because the risk of their side effects may be increased by hydrochlorothiazide
  • Diabetes medicines (eg, glipizide, metformin) or insulin because their effectiveness may be decreased by hydrochlorothiazide

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if hydrochlorothiazide may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use hydrochlorothiazide:

Use hydrochlorothiazide as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Take hydrochlorothiazide by mouth with or without food.
  • If you are taking colestipol or cholestyramine for high cholesterol, ask your doctor or pharmacist how to take it with hydrochlorothiazide.
  • Hydrochlorothiazide may increase the amount of urine or cause you to urinate more often when you first start taking it. To keep this from disturbing your sleep, try to take your dose before 6 pm.
  • If you miss a dose of hydrochlorothiazide, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use hydrochlorothiazide.

Important safety information:

  • Hydrochlorothiazide may cause dizziness or blurred vision. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use hydrochlorothiazide with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Hydrochlorothiazide may cause dizziness, light-headedness, or fainting; alcohol, hot weather, exercise, or fever may increase these effects. To prevent them, sit up or stand slowly, especially in the morning. Sit or lie down at the first sign of any of these effects.
  • Report any light-headedness or fainting to your doctor immediately. Your risk of light-headedness or fainting may be increased if you experience diarrhea, vomiting, or excessive sweating; if you do not drink enough fluids; or if you are on a low-salt (sodium) diet. Contact your health care provider at once if any of these events occur.
  • Hydrochlorothiazide is a sulfonamide. It can cause certain eye problems (myopia, angle-closure glaucoma). Your risk may be increased if you are allergic to sulfonamide medicines (eg, sulfamethoxazole) or to penicillin antibiotics (eg, amoxicillin). Untreated angle-closure glaucoma can lead to permanent vision loss. If these eye problems occur, symptoms usually occur within hours to weeks of starting hydrochlorothiazide. Contact your doctor right away if you experience symptoms such as vision changes (eg, decreased vision clearness) or eye pain.
  • Hydrochlorothiazide may decrease the amount of potassium in your body. If your doctor has also prescribed a potassium supplement for you, follow the dosing directions carefully. Check with your doctor before taking additional potassium on your own or including foods high in potassium (eg, bananas, orange juice) in your diet.
  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you take hydrochlorothiazide before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
  • Tell your doctor if you will be exposed to high temperatures. The risk of certain side effects (eg, low blood sodium levels) may be increased in hot weather.
  • Hydrochlorothiazide may cause you to become sunburned more easily. Avoid the sun, sunlamps, or tanning booths until you know how you react to hydrochlorothiazide. Use a sunscreen or wear protective clothing if you must be outside for more than a short time.
  • Patients who take medicine for high blood pressure often feel tired or run down for a few weeks after starting treatment. Be sure to take your medicine even if you may not feel "normal." Tell your doctor if you develop any new symptoms.
  • Hydrochlorothiazide may raise your blood sugar. High blood sugar may make you feel confused, drowsy, or thirsty. It can also make you flush, breathe faster, or have a fruit-like breath odor. If these symptoms occur, tell your doctor right away.
  • Diabetes patients - Check blood sugar levels closely. Ask your doctor before you change the dose of your diabetes medicine.
  • Hydrochlorothiazide may interfere with certain lab tests, including parathyroid function tests. Be sure your doctor and lab personnel know you are taking hydrochlorothiazide.
  • Lab tests, including kidney function, blood pressure, and electrolyte levels, may be performed while you take hydrochlorothiazide. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Use hydrochlorothiazide with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially dizziness.
  • Hydrochlorothiazide should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN; safety and effectiveness in children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Hydrochlorothiazide may cause harm to the fetus. If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of taking hydrochlorothiazide while you are pregnant. Hydrochlorothiazide is found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you take hydrochlorothiazide, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby. Do not breast-feed while taking hydrochlorothiazide.

Possible side effects of hydrochlorothiazide:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Constipation; diarrhea; dizziness; light-headedness; loss of appetite; nausea; temporary blurred vision.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); dark urine; decreased urination; eye pain; fainting; fast or irregular heartbeat; fever, chills, or persistent sore throat; increased thirst; joint pain, swelling, warmth, or redness (especially of the big toe joint); muscle pain, weakness, or cramps; numbness or tingling; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin; severe or persistent dizziness or light-headedness; severe or persistent nausea or stomach pain; shortness of breath; symptoms of low blood sodium levels (eg, confusion, mental or mood changes, seizures, sluggishness); unusual bruising or bleeding; unusual drowsiness, restlessness, tiredness, or weakness; unusually dry mouth; vision changes (eg, decreased vision clearness); vomiting; yellowing of the eyes or skin.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include severe dizziness; symptoms of dehydration (eg, dry mouth or eyes; decreased urination; fast heartbeat; unusual thirst, tiredness, or weakness); symptoms of blood electrolyte problems (eg, confusion; irregular heartbeat; mental or mood changes; muscle pain, weakness, or cramping; seizures; sluggishness).

Proper storage of hydrochlorothiazide:

Store hydrochlorothiazide at room temperature, between 68 and 77 degrees F (20 and 25 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep hydrochlorothiazide out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about hydrochlorothiazide, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Hydrochlorothiazide is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take hydrochlorothiazide or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about hydrochlorothiazide. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to hydrochlorothiazide. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using hydrochlorothiazide.

Issue Date: September 3, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.003
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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