GENERIC NAME: hydrochlorothiazide
DISCONTINUED BRAND: Hydrodiuril, Ezide, Hydro-Par, Microzide, and many combinations with other drugs
GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes
USES: Hydrochlorothiazide is used to treat excessive fluid accumulation and swelling (edema) of the body caused by heart failure, cirrhosis, chronic kidney failure, corticosteroid medications, and nephrotic syndrome. It also is used alone or in conjunction with other blood pressure lowering medications to treat high blood pressure. Although hydrochlorothiazide is approved for treating edema in cirrhosis of the liver, it is rarely used because of the availability of other diuretics that are more effective. Hydrochlorothiazide can be used to treat calcium-containing kidney stones because it decreases the amount of calcium excreted by the kidneys in the urine and thus decreases the amount of calcium in urine to form stones.
SIDE EFFECTS: Side effects of hydrochlorothiazide include:
- low blood pressure,
- light sensitivity (rash caused by sunlight),
- abdominal pain,
More serious side effects include:
- electrolyte disturbances,
- jaundice, and
- anaphylaxis (a life-threatening allergic reaction).
Patients allergic to sulfa may also be allergic to hydrochlorothiazide because of the similarity in the chemical structure of the medications.
Hydrochlorothiazide can aggravate kidney dysfunction and is used with caution in patients with kidney disease. Hydrochlorothiazide can lower blood potassium, sodium, and magnesium levels. Low potassium and magnesium levels can lead to abnormalities in heart rhythm, especially in patients already taking digoxin (Lanoxin). During hydrochlorothiazide treatment, supplementation with potassium is common to prevent low potassium levels.
Blood uric acid levels can increase during hydrochlorothiazide treatment, and this elevation may cause an episode of acute gout in some individuals. Thiazide diuretics may increase blood sugar (glucose) levels and precipitate diabetes.
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