Triamterene: Uses, Side Effects

Triamterene is a potassium-sparing diuretic
(water pill) that prevents your body from absorbing too much salt and keeps
your potassium levels from getting too low.

Triamterene is used to treat fluid
retention (edema) in people with congestive heart failure, cirrhosis of the
liver, or a kidney condition called nephrotic syndrome.

Triamterene is also used to treat edema
caused by using steroid medicine or having too much aldosterone in your body.
Aldosterone is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands to help regulate the
salt and water balance in your body.

Important information

You should not use triamterene if you have
severe kidney or liver disease, urination problems, or high levels of potassium
in your blood.

You should not take triamterene if you also
take potassium supplements, or other diuretics such as amiloride or
spironolactone.

Call your doctor right away if you have
signs of hyperkalemia (high potassium), such as nausea, slow or unusual heart
rate, weakness, or loss of movement. You may be more likely to have high
potassium if you have kidney disease, diabetes, a severe illness, or if you an
older adult.

Avoid drinking alcohol, which can increase
some of the side effects of triamterene.

Avoid a diet high in salt. Too much salt
will cause your body to retain water and can make this medication less
effective.

Do not use salt substitutes or low-sodium
milk products that contain potassium. These products could cause your potassium
levels to get too high while you are taking triamterene.

Avoid becoming overheated or dehydrated
during exercise and in hot weather. Follow your doctor’s instructions about the
type and amount of liquids you should drink. In some cases, drinking too much
liquid can be as unsafe as not drinking enough.

Triamterene can cause side effects that may
impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that
requires you to be awake and alert.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use triamterene if you are
allergic to it, or if you have:

  • severe kidney disease, or if you are unable to urinate;
  • severe liver disease;
  • high potassium levels (hyperkalemia); or
  • if you take potassium supplements, or another potassium-sparing
    diuretic such as amiloride (Midamor) or spironolactone (Aldactone).

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

  • diabetes;
  • heart disease;
  • kidney disease;
  • liver disease;
  • gout; or
  • a history of kidney stones.

Using triamterene may increase your risk of
developing hyperkalemia (high levels of potassium in your blood). You may be
more likely to have high potassium if you have kidney disease, diabetes, a
severe illness, or if you an older adult.

It is not known whether this medicine will
harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become
pregnant.

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

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

Side effects

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

Call your doctor right away if you have
signs of hyperkalemia (high potassium), such as nausea, slow or unusual heart
rate, weakness, or loss of movement.

Stop using triamterene and call your doctor
at once if you have:

  • pale skin, easy bruising or bleeding;
  • slow, fast, or uneven heartbeat;
  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
  • little or no urination;
  • signs of a kidney stone – sudden pain in your back or side,
    vomiting, fever, chills, painful urination, and urine that looks, red, pink,
    brown, or cloudy; or
  • low potassium – leg cramps, constipation, irregular heartbeats,
    fluttering in your chest, increased thirst or urination, numbness or tingling,
    muscle weakness or limp feeling.

Common triamterene side effects may
include:

  • nausea, diarrhea;
  • dizziness, headache;
  • dry mouth; or
  • feeling weak or tired.

This is not a complete list of side effects
and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

What other drugs will affect triamterene?

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

  • any other diuretic;
  • chlorpropamide;
  • lithium;
  • heart or blood pressure medicine; or
  • NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) – aspirin, ibuprofen
    (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), celecoxib, diclofenac, indomethacin,
    meloxicam, and others.

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

Keyword: triamterene.

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