Meds and you

Updated 11 February 2013

Amiloride

Often when diuretics are prescribed, magnesium and potassium in the body are depleted, which may cause, amongst others, muscle cramps.

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Amiloride is one of multiple active ingredients found in Moderate, Adco-Retic, Amiloretic, Betaretic, Hexaretic (all with hydrochlorothiazide), Moducren and Servatrin (both with hydrochlorothiazide and timolol).

General information

Often when diuretics are prescribed, magnesium and potassium in the body are depleted, which may cause, amongst others, muscle cramps. Amiloride has potassium and magnesium sparing properties and does not cause this depletion. It is very useful in sparing these salts if combined with a diuretic that depletes magnesium and potassium.

Amiloride is prescribed for the treatment of fluid retention and high blood pressure.

Because amiloride affects urine flow for several hours, it should be taken in the morning or no later than 4pm to prevent having to visit the toilet throughout the night.

How does it work?

Amiloride influences the kidneys to increase the amount of urine passed. It thereby reduces fluid retention and high blood pressure.

Amiloride's potassium sparing effect is a result of it reducing the reabsorption of sodium in the kidney.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: Schedule 4

Available as: Tablets

What does it do? Amiloride is a diuretic - it increase the excretion of water through the kidneys

Overdose risk: Medium

Dependence risk: Low

Available as a generic? Yes

Available on prescription only? Yes

User information

Onset of effect: Within 4 hours.

Duration of action: Up to 24 hours.

Dietary advice: Foods high in potassium should be avoided. These include bananas, tomatoes and dried fruit.

Stopping this medicine : It may be dangerous to discontinue this drug abruptly as symptoms of the condition being treated may recur. Don’t discontinue this drug without speaking to your doctor.

Prolonged use: Amiloride is often safely used for long periods of time. It may, however, be necessary to monitor blood salt levels occasionally.

Special precautions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if:

  • you have kidney or liver disease,
  • you are diabetic,
  • you are a taking a potassium supplement, or
  • you are taking other medication.

Pregnancy: Avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your baby. Consult your doctor before using this drug, or if you are planning to fall pregnant.

Breastfeeding: Avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your baby. Consult your doctor before use.

Porphyria: This medication is safe use.

Infants and children: Safety and efficacy of this medication has not been established for children. Low doses have been used under the supervision of a paediatrician.

Elderly: Caution is advised in the elderly as side-effects are more likely.

Driving and hazardous work: No special precautions need to be taken.

Alcohol: No special precautions need to be taken.

Possible side effects

Side effect

Frequency

Consult your doctor

Common

Rare

Only if severe

In all cases

Nausea

x

x

Reduced appetite

x

x

Stomach cramps

x

x

Flatulence

x

x

Headache

x

x

Weakness

x

x

Dizziness/ confusion

x

x

Visual disturbances

x

x

Skin rash/ itch

x

x

Muscle cramps/ spasms

x

x

Bladder spasm

x

x

Interactions

Drug interactions

ACE inhibitor drugs

Increased potassium in body; risk of toxicity

Cyclosporin

Increased risk of kidney toxicity

Digoxin

Increased risk of digoxin toxicity

Lithium

Increased risk of lithium toxicity

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

Increased risk of kidney toxicity

Potassium supplements

Increased risk of potassium toxicity

Potassium sparing diuretics

Increased risk of potassium toxicity

Food interactions

Avoid foods rich in potassium, including bananas, tomatoes and dried fruits.

Disease interactions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if you have kidney or liver disease, or if you are diabetic.

Overdose action

A small overdose is no cause for concern. In case of intentional large overdose, seek emergency medical attention.

Recommended dosage

Amiloride is only available as part of combination products.

Adults: 2.5-10mg/day as a single dose.

Children: Safety has not been established. Has been used in doses of 0.125-0.5mg/kg/day.

This material is not intended to substitute medical advice, but is for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment and recommendations.

 

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