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chlorothiazide

Generic Name: chlorothiazide (KLOR oh THYE a zide)
Brand Name: Diuril, Diuril Sodium

What is chlorothiazide?

Chlorothiazide is a thiazide diuretic (water pill) that helps prevent your body from absorbing too much salt, which can cause fluid retention.

Chlorothiazide treats fluid retention (edema) in people with congestive heart failure, cirrhosis of the liver, or kidney disorders, or edema caused by taking steroids or estrogen. This medication is also used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension).

Chlorothiazide may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about chlorothiazide?

Do not use this medication if you are allergic to chlorothiazide or if you are unable to urinate.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor if you are allergic to sulfa drugs, or if you have liver disease, kidney disease, asthma, allergies, gout, lupus, or diabetes.

Avoid drinking alcohol, which can increase some of the side effects of chlorothiazide.

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Tell your doctor if you regularly use other medicines that make you light-headed (such as cold or allergy medicine, narcotic pain medicine, sleeping pills, muscle relaxers, and medicine for seizures, depression, or anxiety). They can add to the side effects of chlorothiazide.

Avoid becoming overheated or dehydrated during exercise and in hot weather. Follow your doctor's instructions about the type and amount of liquids you should drink. In some cases, drinking too much liquid can be as unsafe as not drinking enough.

If you are being treated for high blood pressure, keep using this medication even if you feel fine. High blood pressure often has no symptoms.

What should I discuss with my doctor before taking chlorothiazide?

Do not use this medication if you are allergic to chlorothiazide, or if you are unable to urinate.

If you have certain conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take this medication. Before taking chlorothiazide, tell your doctor if you have:

  • kidney disease;

  • liver disease;

  • asthma or allergies;

  • gout;

  • lupus;

  • diabetes; or

  • if you are allergic to sulfa drugs.

If you have any of these conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take chlorothiazide.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether chlorothiazide is harmful to an unborn baby. Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.

Chlorothiazide can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I take chlorothiazide?

Take this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

To be sure this medication is helping your condition, your blood pressure will need to be checked on a regular basis. Do not miss any scheduled appointments.

Your blood and urine may need to be tested if you have been vomiting or are dehydrated.

Chlorothiazide can interfere with the results of a thyroid test. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using a thiazide diuretic.

If you are being treated for high blood pressure, keep using this medication even if you feel fine. High blood pressure often has no symptoms.

Store the tablets at room temperature away from heat, light, and moisture.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take the medicine at the next regularly scheduled time. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine. Overdose symptoms may include confusion, uneven heart rate, extreme thirst, increased urination, leg discomfort, and muscle weakness or limp feeling.

What should I avoid while taking chlorothiazide?

Avoid drinking alcohol, which can increase some of the side effects of chlorothiazide.

Avoid getting up too fast from a sitting or lying position, or you may feel dizzy. Get up slowly and steady yourself to prevent a fall.

Avoid becoming overheated or dehydrated during exercise and in hot weather. Follow your doctor's instructions about the type and amount of liquids you should drink. In some cases, drinking too much liquid can be as unsafe as not drinking enough.

Chlorothiazide side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using this medication and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • nausea and vomiting with weakness, loss of appetite, headache, hallucinations, muscle pain, and/or seizure;

  • confusion, uneven heart rate, extreme thirst, leg discomfort, muscle weakness or limp feeling;

  • urinating more or less than usual or not at all;

  • easy bruising or bleeding;

  • numbness or tingly feeling;

  • fever, sore throat, and headache with a severe blistering, peeling, and red skin rash; or

  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Less serious side effects may include:

  • dizziness, spinning sensation;

  • diarrhea, constipation, stomach cramps;

  • muscle spasm;

  • loss of interest in sex; or

  • blurred vision.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

Chlorothiazide dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Edema:

Oral or IV: 500 to 1000 mg once or twice a day.

Usual Adult Dose for Hypertension:

Oral or IV: 500 to 1000 mg once or twice a day.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Edema:

Note: IV use of chlorothiazide in infants and children has not been well established. If IV therapy is required, the lowest dosage should be used to achieve the desired response. Once the patient is able to take oral medications, chlorothiazide oral may be substituted for IV therapy, using the same dosage schedule as for the parenteral route. Due to the variable and often poor oral bioavailability of chlorothiazide, particularly at higher dosages, patient response should be closely monitored and the dosage adjusted accordingly.

Infants less than 6 months:
Oral: 10 to 30 mg/kg/day in 2 divided doses
Maximum dose: 375 mg/day orally
Anecdotal reports have used up to 40 mg/kg/day (unlabeled).
IV (unlabeled): 2 to 8 mg/kg/day in 2 divided doses
Anecdotal reports have used up to 20 mg/kg/day
Infants greater than 6 months and Children:
Oral: 10 to 20 mg/kg/day in 1 to 2 divided doses
Maximum dose: 375 mg/day orally in children less than 2 years or 1 g/day orally in children 2 to 12 years
IV (unlabeled route): 4 mg/kg/day in 1 to 2 divided doses
Anecdotal reports have used up to 20 mg/kg/day

Usual Pediatric Dose for Hypertension:

Note: IV use of chlorothiazide in infants and children has not been well established. If IV therapy is required, the lowest dosage should be used to achieve the desired response. Once the patient is able to take oral medications, chlorothiazide oral may be substituted for IV therapy, using the same dosage schedule as for the parenteral route. Due to the variable and often poor oral bioavailability of chlorothiazide, particularly at higher dosages, patient response should be closely monitored and the dosage adjusted accordingly.

Infants less than 6 months:
Oral: 10 to 30 mg/kg/day in 2 divided doses
Maximum dose: 375 mg/day orally
Anecdotal reports have used up to 40 mg/kg/day (unlabeled).
IV (unlabeled): 2 to 8 mg/kg/day in 2 divided doses
Anecdotal reports have used up to 20 mg/kg/day
Infants greater than 6 months and Children:
Oral: 10 to 20 mg/kg/day in 1 to 2 divided doses
Maximum dose: 375 mg/day orally in children less than 2 years or 1 g/day orally in children 2 to 12 years
IV (unlabeled route): 4 mg/kg/day in 1 to 2 divided doses
Anecdotal reports have used up to 20 mg/kg/day

What other drugs will affect chlorothiazide?

Tell your doctor if you regularly use other medicines that make you light-headed (such as cold or allergy medicine, narcotic pain medicine, sleeping pills, muscle relaxers, and medicine for seizures, depression, or anxiety). They can add to the side effects of chlorothiazide.

Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you are using any of the following drugs:

  • lithium;

  • digoxin (Lanoxin);

  • cholestyramine (Prevalite, Questran) or colestipol (Colestid);

  • steroids (prednisone and others);

  • other blood pressure medications;

  • NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), diclofenac (Voltaren), indomethacin, naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), piroxicam (Feldene), nabumetone (Relafen), etodolac (Lodine), and others; or

  • insulin or diabetes medicine taken by mouth.

This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can interact with chlorothiazide. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist can provide more information about chlorothiazide.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 6.02. Revision Date: 2010-12-15, 5:01:39 PM.

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