Sadly, a great number of people suffering from heart diseases and high blood pressure, also referred to as hypertension, are a common sight. Needless to say, no kinds of diseases can be left unattended, especially those that can pose a direct threat to human life. There is a wide range of drugs to treat high blood pressure, and furosemide is the one worth looking at.
Why is Furosemide most effective?
The drug belongs to the category of loop diuretics, the strongest diuretic agents. It stimulates the circulation of fluid in the body, preventing excessive salt absorption. In short, it increases the frequency of urination, thereby lowering blood pressure. The effect is rather short-term, yet strong.
As a diuretic drug, furosemide is quite versatile and is often prescribed for treating heart failure, edema, kidney and liver diseases. Bear in mind that the medicine can’t cure diseases, it can only temporarily stabilize health conditions.
Use the medicine properly
First, it is essential that you consult your doctor before taking furosemide. Though powerful, the drug can lead to undesired results if misused or overused.
As a rule of thumb, it shouldn’t be used more than two or three times a day, depending on your age, medical condition or individual needs. For a patient with heart disease, it is advisable to take the drug approximately at the same time every day, and you may need to continue using it even when feeling well to avert deterioration of health conditions.
Furosemide can be taken either in the form of tablets, liquid (starts taking effect within an hour or so) or injection into a vein (the effect can be reached within a couple of minutes).
- For nephrosis, the minimum injection dose ranges from 20 to 40 mg, the oral dose — 20–80 mg; further consumption should be controlled by a doctor.
- For edema, liver cirrhosis and congestive heart failure, the dosage is approximately equal: the initial injection dose is 20–40mg, the initial oral dose is 20–80 mg.
- For hypertension, the drug should be taken two times a day, 40 mg each intake.
- For a child, the dose is determined by their weight that should be over 10 kilos at a minimum.
At any rate, it is essential to consult a doctor first.
Possible side effects
The consumption of this drug must be strictly controlled by a doctor. It is important to take the needed amount of water to prevent dehydration, and therefore excessively low blood pressure. If overused, furosemide can have a detrimental impact and is potentially dangerous for a patient, most notably it can cause severe weakness, loss of consciousness or even loss of hearing (extreme cases). Should you experience such symptoms, immediately call 911 or your local poison control centre.
Among the most common side effects furosemide can bring about are:
- muscle and stomach cramps
- nausea and vomiting
- irregular heartbeat
Generally, these symptoms are mild and go away relatively quickly. If they do not mitigate, talk to your doctor.
Precautions: things to consider before starting to take the drug
It is not recommended to take furosemide by pregnant women and during the lactation period, except for those occasions when its usage is justified, that is, when a disease is more dangerous to a mother than the drug to a baby (children can be especially sensitive to certain side effects).
Furosemide can also be harmful to people with:
- hypersensitivity to sulfonamides
- diabetes (controlling blood sugar level in the body can be difficult)
- impaired kidney function (high doses could pose a real risk, for kidneys play the most important role in body detox)
- the precomatose condition caused by hepatic encephalopathy
- thyroid problems (it is important that thyroid hormones levels are controlled)
- hypotension (low blood pressure)
Things you need to know about drug interactions
The list of compatible/non-compatible drugs is extremely wide, and, of course, special consultation is crucial.
There are a number of drugs that interact with furosemide and can cause a plethora of undesirable side effects. Some of them are strictly forbidden to combine, others can have a relatively moderate effect.
This is the list of some drugs which interact with furosemide:
- Chloral hydrate
Taking furosemide within twenty four hours after chloral hydrate is likely to cause nausea, tachycardia (a rapid heart rate), hot flashes, etc.
- Aminoglycosides and other ototoxic drugs
These can have especially severe side effects — their interaction increases the risk of irreversible loss of hearing.
Hypokalemia and cardiac toxicity are among the possible side effects.
- Risperidone and other antipsychotic drugs
Before taking these, consider whether the risk-benefit ratio is on your side.
This medication reduces the drug effect.
Taking this one in combination with furosemide may lead to irreversible hearing loss as well as nephrotic effects. Better to abstain unless it is absolutely necessary.
- ACE inhibitor and angiotensin II receptor blocker
A controlled dosage is recommended to avoid kidney problems.
- Antihypertensive drugs
They double the effect, yet under certain conditions may be prescribed.
- Carbenoxolone, corticosteroids or laxative
These medications may cause hypokalemia — an excessively low level of potassium in the blood serum.
- Other loop diuretics
There is a risk of excessively low blood pressure
- Blood pressure drugs
Such a combo can easily cause a low level of blood pressure, cramps or severe weakness. Strict control must be observed.
High risk of cardiac and neurotoxicity. If using this one is important, strict control is a must.
Also, alcohol drinks and sunlight exposure may worsen the side effects. Be careful!
As mentioned above, the list can be extended, it is generalized and shows only a rough idea. Furthermore, the interactions listed above may not necessarily occur, and even if they do occur, some drugs still can be used together. Each organism responds to these drug combinations individually. Therefore, I underline that you can’t jump to conclusions and make your own decisions without consulting a medical specialist. Any rash action can backfire on you!
When it comes to storing furosemide, you should consider three things:
- the temperature should not be higher than 25–30 °C (77–86 °F)
- it should be kept away from sunlight and moisture
- it must be kept out of the reach of children
Important note: Please note that all information found on this website is available here for educational purposes only. We cannot guarantee that any of it is full, exhaustive, up-to-date, or accurate at any given time. No content of this article should be regarded as or used to substitute patient-specific medical advice provided by a licensed and qualified healthcare practitioner. To have your medical condition diagnosed correctly and receive proper treatment, please see your doctor in person. Self-diagnosing a health problem and self-prescription of medications is extremely dangerous and can have grave complications for a patient’s health.