Why are diuretics important?
Diuretics or “water pills,” such as furosemide (Lasix), metolazone (Zaroxolyn) or hydrochlorothiazide (hydroDIURIL), help the kidney eliminate excess fluid from your body. Diuretics are used to remove a surplus of fluid from the bloodstream or tissues which may cause swollen legs, puffiness around the eyes or weight gain. Diuretics may also be used to treat high blood pressure.
What are the side effects of diuretics?
The following side effects may result from taking Lasix, Zaroxolyn or hydroDIURIL.
- Low blood pressure
- Leg cramps
- Dry mouth
- Difficulty hearing
What do I need to do when taking diuretics?
Remember to weigh yourself each day at the same time in similar clothes. Notify the Transplant Center if you have a rapid weight gain (three pounds or more in one day).
If you are taking two doses of any diuretic, take the last dose in the early evening (between four and five p.m.) to help avoid the need to use the bathroom during the night.
Because lasix may deplete potassium, you may need to take a potassium supplement. Foods high in potassium, such as bananas, raisins, dates and all fruit juices, are an excellent way to increase potassium in your diet.
Please note: Do not let a diuretic be a substitute for fluid control. Many times, cutting back on your fluid intake as well as decreasing salt in your diet may replace the need for a water pill.
What should I know about high blood pressure caused by diuretics?
High blood pressure is a potentially serious condition. While its presence may go unnoticed, this condition can harm your kidneys and increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes or blindness. Fortunately, there are several new antihypertensive drugs that make it possible for most people to control and maintain normal blood pressure.
The majority of patients with high blood pressure will need to take ongoing medications, but blood pressure may be lowered by incorporating a healthy diet along with regular exercise into your daily schedule. By maintaining a reasonable weight, decreasing the amount of salt in your diet and exercising regularly, you have a better chance of reducing and possibly eliminating your blood pressure medications. Working with a dietitian from the Cleveland Clinic can help you create a healthy diet to lower your blood pressure.
You will need to determine your blood pressure daily by using a blood pressure cuff. During your stay in the hospital, we will ensure that you are comfortable measuring your own blood pressure through daily instruction and by addressing any of your concerns or questions.
There are several different blood pressure medications, each with various actions. The following are some of the most common blood pressure medications:
- diltiazem (Cardizem)
- atenolol (Tenormin)
- clonidine (Catapres)
- metoprolol (Lopressor)
- terazosin (Hytrin)
- isradipine (DynaCirc)
- labetalol (Normodyne)
- nifedipine (Procardia)
- verapamil (Calan)
- propranolol (Inderal)
What types of side effects are caused by blood pressure medications?
All of the common blood pressure medications listed result in the following side effects:
- Muscle weakness
- Skin rash
In addition to these side effects, some men may also experience impotence (the inability to have an erection). If any of these symptoms occur, please report them to the Transplant Team. Many times your medication can be adjusted to prevent side effects from recurring.
Please note: It is important to take your medications at the right time, in the correct amount. Never discontinue using your medication even if you are feeling better--remember that you are feeling better because of your medication.
For More Information
If you have any questions or concerns, please call us at 216.444.6996. We will be happy to answer your questions.