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Ethacrynic acid

Generic name: ethacrynic acid [ eth-a-KRIN-ik-AS-id ]
Brand names: Edecrin, Edecrin Sodium
Dosage form: oral tablet (25 mg)
Drug class: Loop diuretics

Medically reviewed by on Jul 4, 2023. Written by Cerner Multum.

What is ethacrynic acid?

Ethacrynic acid is a loop diuretic (water pill) that prevents your body from absorbing too much salt, allowing the salt to instead be passed in your urine.

Ethacrynic acid is used to treat fluid retention (edema) in people with congestive heart failure, liver disease, or a kidney disorder such as nephrotic syndrome.

Ethacrynic acid may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What are the possible side effects of ethacrynic acid

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

Ethacrynic acid may cause serious side effects. Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • weight loss;

  • severe or watery diarrhea;

  • hearing problems, feeling of fullness in your ear;

  • severe weakness, muscle cramps, numbness or tingling;

  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;

  • sudden numbness or weakness, problems with speech or balance, chest pain, coughing up blood;

  • low potassium--leg cramps, constipation, irregular heartbeats, fluttering in your chest, increased thirst or urination, numbness or tingling, muscle weakness or limp feeling; or

  • low sodium--headache, confusion, slurred speech, severe weakness, vomiting, loss of coordination, feeling unsteady.

Common side effects of ethacrynic acid may include:

  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or other stomach discomfort;

  • trouble swallowing;

  • loss of appetite;

  • blurred vision;

  • fever, chills; or

  • headache, feeling tired.

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.


You should not use ethacrynic acid if you are unable to urinate, or if you have recently had severe watery diarrhea.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use ethacrynic acid if you are allergic to it, or if:

  • you are unable to urinate; or

  • you have recently had severe watery diarrhea.

To make sure ethacrynic acid is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • cirrhosis or other liver disease;

  • heart disease;

  • an electrolyte imbalance (such as low levels of potassium or magnesium in your blood);

  • kidney disease;

  • gout; or

  • if you are on a low-salt diet.

Ethacrynic acid is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using ethacrynic acid.

It is not known whether ethacrynic acid passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.

Ethacrynic acid is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.

How should I take ethacrynic acid?

Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Take this medicine after a meal, unless your doctor tells you otherwise.

Ethacrynic acid will make you urinate more often and you may get dehydrated easily. Follow your doctor's instructions about using potassium supplements or getting enough salt and potassium in your diet.

While using ethacrynic acid, you may need frequent blood tests and weight checks.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

Overdose symptoms may include dry mouth, increased thirst, mood changes, confusion, ringing in your ears, loss of appetite, vomiting, muscle pain or weakness, lack of energy, fast heartbeats, and little or no urination.

What should I avoid while taking ethacrynic acid?

Avoid becoming dehydrated. Follow your doctor's instructions about the type and amount of liquids you should drink while you are taking ethacrynic acid.

What other drugs will affect ethacrynic acid?

Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:

This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with ethacrynic acid, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.

Further information

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.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.