Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Mar 30, 2022.
May cause hyperkalemia, which if uncorrected, is potentially fatal. Hyperkalemia is more likely to occur in patients with renal impairment, diabetes mellitus (with or without recognized renal insufficiency), and in the elderly or severely ill. Monitor serum potassium levels carefully in any patient receiving triamterene .
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Cardiovascular Agent
Pharmacologic Class: Diuretic, Potassium Sparing
Uses for triamterene
Triamterene is used alone or 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 .
Triamterene is also used to treat water retention (edema) in patients with congestive heart failure, liver cirrhosis, or a kidney disorder called nephrotic syndrome .
Triamterene 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 .
Triamterene is available only with your doctor’s prescription .
Before using triamterene
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 triamterene, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to triamterene 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 triamterene in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established .
No information is available on the relationship of age to the effects of triamterene in geriatric patients .
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
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 triamterene, 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 triamterene 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 triamterene 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 triamterene 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 triamterene with any of the following is usually not recommended, but may be unavoidable in some cases. If used together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use triamterene, or give you special instructions about the use of food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Using triamterene 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 triamterene, 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 triamterene. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Anuria (not able to pass urine) or
- Diabetes or
- Hyperkalemia (high potassium in the blood) or
- Kidney disease, severe or
- Liver disease, severe—Should not be used in patients with these conditions .
- Folic acid deficiency or
- Gout or
- Hyperuricemia (high uric acid in the blood) or
- Hypokalemia (low potassium in the blood) or
- Hyponatremia (low sodium in the blood) or
- Kidney stones, history of—Triamterene may make these conditions worse .
Proper use of triamterene
In addition to the use of triamterene, 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 triamterene 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 triamterene after a meal .
The dose of triamterene 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 triamterene. 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 (capsules):
- For hypertension or edema:
- Adults—100 milligrams (mg) two times a day. Your doctor may adjust your dose if needed.
- Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor .
- For hypertension or edema:
If you miss a dose of triamterene, 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 triamterene
It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure triamterene 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 .
Triamterene 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 .
Triamterene side effects
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:
Incidence not known
- Abdominal or stomach pain
- black, tarry stools
- bleeding gums
- blood in the urine or stools
- clay-colored stools
- cloudy urine
- dark urine
- decreased urine output
- difficulty breathing
- difficulty swallowing
- dry mouth
- fainting spells
- fast or irregular heartbeats
- increased thirst
- joint pain
- loss of appetite
- loss of consciousness
- mood changes
- muscle pain or cramps
- muscle twitching
- nausea or vomiting
- numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or lips
- pain in the groin or genitals
- pain in the lower back or side
- pinpoint red spots on the skin
- puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips or tongue
- rapid or unusual weight gain
- sharp back pain just below the ribs
- shortness of breath
- skin rash
- swelling of the face, ankles, feet, or hands
- tightness in the chest
- unpleasant breath odor
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- vomiting of blood
- weakness or heaviness of the legs
- yellow eyes or skin
Get emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms of overdose occur:
Symptoms of overdose
- Blurred vision
- dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up from a lying or sitting position suddenly
- pain or weakness in the hands or feet
- passing of gas
- stomach fullness or discomfort
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:
Incidence not known
- Increased sensitivity of skin to sunlight
- redness or other discoloration of the skin
- severe sunburn
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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