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Triamterene

Pronunciation

Generic Name: triamterene (trye-AM-ter-een)
Brand Name: Dyrenium

Triamterene may cause high blood potassium levels that can be fatal if not corrected. High blood potassium levels occur more commonly in patients with kidney problems, diabetes, elderly patients, those who are severely ill, or patients who are not taking an agent used to increase excretion of potassium. If you develop muscle weakness or irregular heartbeat, notify your doctor immediately.


Triamterene is used for:

Treating swelling (edema) associated with conditions such as congestive heart failure, cirrhosis of the liver, and certain severe kidney problems (eg, nephrosis). It may be used alone or with other medicines. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Triamterene is a potassium-sparing diuretic. It works by making the kidneys eliminate sodium (salt) and water from the body while retaining potassium.

Do NOT use triamterene if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in triamterene
  • you are taking potassium supplements, another potassium-sparing diuretic (eg, amiloride), or an aldosterone blocker (eg, eplerenone)
  • you are unable to urinate or have high blood potassium levels or severely decreased liver or kidney function

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

Before using triamterene:

Some medical conditions may interact with triamterene. 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 heart problems, diabetes, kidney damage caused by diabetes, liver or kidney problems, low blood sodium levels, a high acidity of body fluids, dehydration, or a history of kidney stones

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

  • Aldosterone blockers (eg, eplerenone), angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (eg, enalapril), angiotensin II receptor antagonists (eg, valsartan), cyclosporine, penicillin G potassium, otherpotassium-sparing diuretics (eg, amiloride), or potassium supplements because high blood potassium levels may occur and cause listlessness, confusion, abnormal skin sensations of the arms and legs, heaviness of the limbs, slow or irregular heartbeat, or stopping of the heart
  • Insulin and oral hypoglycemics (eg, chlorpropamide) because the risk of side effects, such as severe low blood sodium and changes in blood sugar, may be increased
  • Lithium because risk of side effects and toxicity may be increased by triamterene
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (eg, indomethacin) because the effectiveness of triamterene may be decreased and the risk of kidney problems and high blood potassium levels may be increased

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if triamterene 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 triamterene:

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

  • Take triamterene by mouth with or without food.
  • Triamterene 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 triamterene, 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 triamterene.

Important safety information:

  • Triamterene may cause dizziness. This effect may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use triamterene with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Check with your doctor before you use a salt substitute or a product that has potassium in it.
  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you take triamterene before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
  • LAB TESTS, including blood electrolytes, blood cell counts, kidney and liver function tests, blood uric acid levels, and blood pressure, may be performed while you use triamterene. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Use triamterene with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects.
  • Triamterene should not be used in CHILDREN; safety and effectiveness in children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: It is not known if triamterene can cause harm to the fetus. If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using triamterene while you are pregnant. It is not known if triamterene is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking triamterene.

Possible side effects of triamterene:

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:

Diarrhea; headache; loss of appetite; nausea; weakness.

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); dry mouth; excessive thirst; slow or irregular heart rate; unusual muscle weakness; unusual tiredness; vomiting; yellowing of the skin or eyes.

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 lightheadedness; nausea; vomiting; weakness.

Proper storage of triamterene:

Store triamterene at room temperature, between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C), in a tightly closed container. Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep triamterene out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about triamterene, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Triamterene 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 triamterene 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 triamterene. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to triamterene. 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 triamterene.

Issue Date: April 2, 2014
Database Edition 14.2.1.001
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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