Furosemide is a generic ingredient that’s used in a medication to treat swelling and edema, fluid retention, that is caused by a condition the patient has. This can include kidney disease, liver disease, congestive heart failure, and other conditions that can cause a buildup of fluid. This medication acts on the patient’s kidneys to allow them to urinate more to get rid of the excess fluid. It may be used on its own or alongside other medications in order to help treat patients with high blood pressure. There is also a brand name for this medication, called Lasix.

This medication is in a medicinal group known as loop diuretics. These are sometimes called water pills. When a patient has high blood pressure, it makes the heart work harder in order to function. It can cause the arteries and the heart to not work properly. When this happens, the patient can get blood vessel damage in the kidneys, heart, or brain. This damage can then cause kidney failure, heart failure, a stroke, or heart attack. Getting blood pressure under control can help to cut the risks of these complications. The medication comes in tablet and solution forms.

Taking this medication can help relieve many of the symptoms that extra fluid can cause such as swelling in the abdomen, legs, or arms or shortness of breath. In addition to treating high blood pressure, it can also be used for treating edema in both adults and certain children who have excess swelling.

Precautions and Warnings with Furosemide

It’s important not to take this medication if you’re allergic to the active ingredients or any of the inactive ones. If you’ve ever had a reaction to furosemide, don’t take this medication. It’s also important to only take the amount that you’re prescribed. This is a strong medication that increases the amount of urine produced. Taking too much of this medication can cause dehydration. This happens when the body doesn’t have enough fluid and electrolytes. If you get dehydrated from taking it, tell your doctor right away. You may need to have your dosage changed. Taking too much of it can also cause hearing loss.

There is also the possibility of getting low blood pressure while taking furosemide. If this happens, you may experience faintness and dizziness when you stand up. While taking this medication, get up slowly from a sitting or lying posture.

Low potassium in the blood is also possible. Your body needs potassium for its muscles, nerves, and organs to perform their functions as usual. If your potassium gets too low, you may get tired or have nausea, vomiting, or muscle weakness. If this happens, let your doctor know right away.

It’s important to tell your doctor if you’ve had an MRI recently or any other testing that used radioactive dye. If you are prescribed furosemide for high blood pressure, stay on it as long as the doctor recommends it. Even if you feel ok, continue to take it. Often, there are no symptoms that come with high blood pressure.

It’s rare to have a severe allergic reaction to furosemide, but it can happen. If this occurs, you may get hives, have swelling in your tongue, throat, or face, or have trouble swallowing or breathing. If this happens, you need immediate medical attention.

If you’re pregnant, this medication shouldn’t be taken. Though there has been no human testing during pregnancy, animal studies have shown harm to babies being carried. This medication can slow down the production of milk if you’re breastfeeding. Talk to your doctor to find out whether they recommend taking furosemide during this time.

Don’t drink alcohol with this medication as it can cause the side effects from it to be worse.

Some patients get low thyroid levels from using this medication. This generally happens at the higher doses of this medication. If you take 80 mg or more, watch for any signs that you might have this problem. The symptoms can include weakness, tiredness, dry skin and hair, weight gain, and a cold feeling. If you experience these problems, tell your doctor about it.

Your doctor should take your full medical history before prescribing this medication. Tell your doctor about all the conditions you have, especially if you have any of the following:

  • Urination problems
  • Electrolyte imbalance
  • Lupus
  • An allergy to sulfa drugs
  • A liver disease such as cirrhosis
  • An enlarged prostate
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Gout
  • Kidney disease

Furosemide Side Effects

There are a lot of side effects possible when taking furosemide, but many people don’t get any effects from it. If you do get one or more side effects, they may go away after the first couple of weeks of use. If your side effects bother you or are impacting your life, talk to your doctor. You may need a different medication or a different dosage.

Common Side Effects

Some common side effects include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Stomach cramps
  • Headaches
  • Constipation
  • Vertigo, or feeling like everything is spinning
  • Blurry vision
  • More urination than usual
  • Rash or itching

Serious Side Effects

If you get one of the serious side effects of furosemide, you need to let your doctor know right away. Serious effects include:

  • Feeling thirsty
  • Drowsiness
  • Urinating less than usual
  • Severe vomiting or nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Restlessness
  • Weakness
  • Muscle cramps or pain
  • Heartbeat that’s fast or abnormal
  • Weight gain
  • Dry skin and hair
  • Pain when you drink or eat something
  • Fever
  • Yellowing of your eyes or skin
  • Ringing in the ears or hearing loss
  • Skin that blisters or peels

Drug Interactions with Furosemide

Tell your doctor about every medication that you take, even if it’s an over the counter one.

There is a wide range of medications that can react badly to furosemide. Some aren’t supposed to be used with furosemide, and some may be used with it with close monitoring. Here are some of the medications that can cause a bad interaction:

  • Sucralfate
  • Ethacrynic acid
  • Lithium and other mood stabilizers
  • Methotrexate
  • Phenytoin
  • Chloral hydrate
  • Cyclosporine
  • Certain cancer medications like cisplatin
  • Medications for heart problems or high blood pressure
  • NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, naproxen, aspirin, meloxicam, and celecoxib
  • Antibiotics such as neomycin, tobramycin, amikacin, paromomycin, and gentamicin
  • Antiseizure medications
  • Immunosuppressants
  • Certain muscle relaxers such as succinylcholine
  • Blood pressure medications like benazepril, lisinopril, enalapril, quinapril, captopril, fosinopril, perindopril, trandolapril, and moexipril
  • Thyroid medications such as levothyroxine

Furosemide Strengths and Dosages

Furosemide is available in tablet form and as a liquid solution and an injectable solution. The tablet form comes in strengths of 20 mg, 40 mg, and 80 mg. The oral solution comes in strengths of 8 mg/mL and 10 mg/mL. The injectable solution comes in 10 mg/mL and 80 mg/10 mL. A normal dose can be anywhere from 40 to 80 mg a day. In some cases, a patient may need a different dose, or the dosage that they take may be raised.

Tablets:20 mg, 40 mg, 80 mg
Liquid solution:8 mg/mL, 10 mg/mL
Injectable solution:10 mg/mL, 80 mg/10mL

Furosemide Alternatives

If you have a hard time taking furosemide or it doesn’t work well for you, there may be an alternative medication you can take. These may include Bumetanide, Lisinopril, Spironolactone, Losartan, Hydrochlorothiazide, Metoprolol, Atenolol, Metolazone, Torsemide, and Norvasc.

FAQs of Furosemide

What is Furosemide?

It’s a prescription medication that is used to treat edema (swelling) as well as high blood pressure.

Why is it prescribed?

It’s prescribed to help those who have high blood pressure to cut their risk of major complications from it. It’s also prescribed to help those with swelling to get rid of their excess fluid.

Can you take Furosemide during pregnancy?

It’s not recommended to take this medication during pregnancy. It’s also generally not recommended during breastfeeding.

When was this medication FDA-approved?

It was first approved in 1964.

Can you drink alcohol while taking Furosemide?

It’s recommended that patients not drink alcohol while they’re on this medication. Doing this can make the side effects worse.

Is Furosemide the generic name or the brand name?

This is the generic name of the medication. It’s also available under a brand name- Lasix.

Is Furosemide an expensive medication?

No, it’s a low-priced one. This is because the medication has been around for such a long time that the generic is sold.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The information provided here is for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment recommendations. It should not be taken as an endorsement of any specific medication or treatment. Individual health conditions and responses to treatment can vary greatly; therefore, this information should not be seen as a guarantee of safety, suitability, or effectiveness for any particular individual. Always consult with a healthcare professional for personalized medical advice and before making any decisions regarding your health or treatment plans.

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