Generic name: amiloride [ a-MIL-oh-ride ]
Drug class: Potassium-sparing diuretics
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Jun 11, 2023.
Amiloride may cause hyperkalemia, which if uncorrected, is potentially fatal. Hyperkalemia occurs commonly (about 10%) when amiloride is used without a kaliuretic diuretic. This incidence is greater in patients with renal impairment, diabetes mellitus (with or without recognized renal insufficiency), and in the elderly. Monitor serum potassium levels carefully in any patient receiving amiloride .
Uses for amiloride
Amiloride is used in combination with other medicines to treat high blood pressure (hypertension). High blood pressure adds to the workload of the heart and arteries. If it continues for a long time, the heart and arteries may not function properly. This can damage the blood vessels of the brain, heart, and kidneys, resulting in a stroke, heart failure, or kidney failure. High blood pressure may also increase the risk of heart attacks. These problems may be less likely to occur if blood pressure is controlled .
Amiloride is also used to treat water retention (edema) in patients with congestive heart failure .
Amiloride is a type of diuretic (water pill) that helps prevent your body from losing too much potassium. It reduces the amount of water in the body by increasing the flow of urine, which helps lower the blood pressure .
This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription .
Before using amiloride
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of amiloride in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established .
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatrics-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of amiloride in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to have age-related liver, kidney, or heart problems, which may require an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving amiloride .
Studies suggest that this medication may alter milk production or composition. If an alternative to this medication is not prescribed, you should monitor the infant for side effects and adequate milk intake.
Interactions with Medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking this medicine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.
- Potassium Citrate
Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Amtolmetin Guacil
- Arsenic Trioxide
- Choline Salicylate
- Enalapril Maleate
- Flufenamic Acid
- Mefenamic Acid
- Niflumic Acid
- Nimesulide Beta Cyclodextrin
- Potassium Phosphate
- Salicylic Acid
- Sodium Salicylate
- Tiaprofenic Acid
- Tolfenamic Acid
Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Interactions with Food/Tobacco/Alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using this medicine with any of the following may cause an increased risk of certain side effects but may be unavoidable in some cases. If used together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use this medicine, or give you special instructions about the use of food, alcohol, or tobacco.
- Potassium Containing Food
Other Medical Problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Diabetes or
- Hyperkalemia (high potassium in the blood) or
- Kidney disease (e.g., anuria or diabetic nephropathy)—Should not be used in patients with these conditions .
- Heart disease or
- Liver disease, severe (e.g., cirrhosis or hepatic encephalopathy) or
- Lung disease—Use with caution. May increase the chance of side effects .
Proper use of amiloride
In addition to the use of this medicine, treatment for your high blood pressure may include weight control and changes in the types of foods you eat, especially foods high in sodium. Your doctor will tell you which of these are most important for you. You should check with your doctor before changing your diet .
Many patients who have high blood pressure will not notice any signs of the problem. In fact, many may feel normal. It is very important that you take your medicine exactly as directed and that you keep your appointments with your doctor even if you feel well .
Remember that this medicine will not cure your high blood pressure, but it does help control it. You must continue to take it as directed if you expect to lower your blood pressure and keep it down. You may have to take high blood pressure medicine for the rest of your life. If high blood pressure is not treated, it can cause serious problems such as heart failure, blood vessel disease, stroke, or kidney disease .
It is best to take this medicine with food .
The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
- For oral dosage form (tablets):
- For hypertension or edema:
- Adults—5 milligrams (mg) once a day. Your doctor may increase your dose if needed.
- Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor .
- For hypertension or edema:
If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.
Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.
Keep out of the reach of children.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.
Precautions while using amiloride
It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure this medicine is working properly and to decide if you should continue to take it. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects .
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This especially includes potassium supplements or salt substitutes containing potassium .
This medicine may increase the amount of potassium in your blood. Check with your doctor right away if you are having abdominal pain; confusion; difficulty breathing; irregular heartbeats; nausea or vomiting; nervousness; numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or lips; shortness of breath; or weakness or heaviness of the legs .
Side Effects of amiloride
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- Abdominal pain
- difficulty with breathing
- irregular heartbeat
- nausea or vomiting
- numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or lips
- shortness of breath
- weakness or heaviness of the legs
- back pain
- blurred vision
- hallucinations (seeing things that aren't there)
- labored breathing
- mood or mental changes
- seizures (convulsions)
- stiff neck
- tightness in the chest
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- Arm or jaw pain
- bloody or black, tarry stools
- burning while urinating
- burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings
- change in vision
- chest pain, discomfort, or heaviness
- clay-colored stools
- cold sweats
- dark urine
- difficult or painful urination
- dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up from a lying or sitting position suddenly
- fast, pounding, racing, or slow heartbeat or pulse
- light-colored stools
- loss of appetite
- loss of vision
- shakiness in the legs, arms, hands, or feet
- stomach pain, severe
- trembling or shaking of the hands or feet
- unpleasant breath odor
- vomiting of blood or material that looks like coffee grounds
- yellow eyes or skin
Incidence not known
- Continuing stomach pain
- lower back or side pain
- pale skin
- sore throat
- sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
- swollen or painful glands
- unusual bleeding or bruising
Get emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms of overdose occur:
Symptoms of overdose
- Decreased urination
- dry mouth
- increase in heart rate
- muscle cramps or pain
- pain or weakness in the hands or feet
- rapid breathing
- sunken eyes
- wrinkled skin
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- weight loss
- Changes in appetite
- decreased interest in sexual intercourse
- inability to have or keep an erection
- loss in sexual ability, desire, drive, or performance
- Acid or sour stomach
- continuing ringing or buzzing or other unexplained noise in the ears
- disturbed color perception
- double vision
- excess air or gas in the stomach or intestines
- feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings
- feeling sad or empty
- frequent urination
- full or bloated feeling
- hair loss or thinning of hair
- hearing loss
- increased need to urinate
- increased volume of pale, dilute urine
- joint pain
- leg ache or pain
- loss of interest or pleasure
- neck or shoulder ache
- night blindness
- overbright appearance of lights
- pain in the chest below the breastbone
- passing of gas
- passing urine more often
- pressure in the stomach
- seeing halos around lights
- sensation of spinning
- sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
- stomach fullness, discomfort, or upset
- stuffy nose
- swelling of abdominal or stomach area
- swelling of the breasts or breast soreness in both females and males
- trouble concentrating
- trouble sleeping
- tunnel vision
- unable to sleep
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
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