Meds and you

27 September 2013

Furosemide

Furosemide is a diuretic. Diuretics are drugs that increase the production of urine, thereby removing excess water from the body.

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Furosemide is the active ingredient of Aspen-Furosemide Injection (Nappi Code: 801623-006), Austell-Furosemide Tablets (Nappi Code: 707423-001), Beurises Tablets (Nappi Code: 821845-012), Furosemide-Fresenius Injection (Nappi Code: 727687-018, 799947-008, 799955-019), Lasix Tablets (Nappi Code: 735930-007, 735949-018/026, 780839-005, 73957-002/010), Lasix Injection (Nappi Code: 735981-019, 736007-008, 736007-008), Lasix Solution (Nappi Code: 839515-006), Lasix Retard Capsules (Nappi Code: 735957-002/010), Merck-Furosemide Tablets (Nappi Code: 857769-022), Micro Furosemide Injection (Nappi Code: 899127-002, 703589-001), Puresis Tablets (Nappi Code: 758272-006/014), Sabax Furosemide Injection (Nappi Code: 801623-006), Sandoz Furosemide Tablets (Nappi Code: 731668-006) and Uretic Injection (Nappi Code: 831093-005).

General information,br> Furosemide is a diuretic. Diuretics are drugs that increase the production of urine, thereby removing excess water from the body.

In South Africa furosemide is registered for the treatment of oedema (swelling) of cardiac, renal, hepatic, pulmonary or cerebral origin. It is also indicated for the treatment of mild to moderately high blood pressure.

It is not a cure for high blood pressure, but is effective in keeping it under control. For it to be effective furosemide has to be taken regularly, even if you do not notice an immediate effect. Do not discontinue this medication without consulting your doctor, as symptoms may recur with premature stoppage.

Furosemide enhances the excretion of potassium from your body and may warrant a potassium-rich diet (foods such as bananas or tomatoes), or even the use of a potassium supplement.

A low sodium diet is furthermore advised as this may diminish potassium loss and also lower the dosage requirements for this drug.

How does furosemide work?
Furosemide lowers the amount of excess salt and water in the body by increasing the flow of urine.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: schedule 3
Available as: furosemide is available as tablets, capsules, oral liquid and injection.
What does it do? Furosemide increases the flow of urine from the body.
Overdose risk: low
Dependence risk: low
Is furosemide available as a generic? yes
Is furosemide available on prescription only? yes

User information

Onset of effect: within 60 minutes
Duration of action: up to 8 hours
Dietary advice: the use of this drug may lead to an excessive loss of potassium from the body. Potassium supplements are usually required.
Stopping this medicine: do not discontinue this medication without consulting your doctor as symptoms may recur with premature stoppage.
Prolonged use: long term use may be associated with a loss of salt from the body, which may cause muscle cramps, weakness, etc. Your doctor may need to keep an eye on this.

Special precautions
Consult your doctor before using this drug if:

  • you have gout

  • you have kidney or liver disease

  • if you are dehydrated

  • if you have a condition that makes urination difficult, i.e. prostate trouble

  • you have diabetes

Pregnancy: avoid. Potential risk to the foetus has been reported. Consult your doctor before use, 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: avoid. This medication may cause serious adverse effects. Consult your doctor before use.
Infants and children: if used the dose should be carefully determined by a paediatrician.
The elderly: caution is advised as the likelihood of side-effects is increased.
Driving and hazardous work: caution is advised as use of this medication may lead to dizziness, light headedness and/or sedation. Avoid such activities until you know how this medication affects you.
Alcohol: avoid concomitant use of alcohol with this medication as it may increase risk of dehydration.

Possible side effects

Side Effect
Frequency
Consult your doctor

Common
Rare
Only if severe
In all cases
dizziness
X

X

headache
X

X

low blood pressure
X

X

muscle cramps

X
X

nausea

X

X
dry mouth

X
X

rash

X

X
unusual tiredness/weakness

X

X
pain in joints

X

X
irregular heart beat

X

X
hearing impairment

X

X

Interactions

non-steroidal anti-inflammatory may reduce the drug’s diuretic and blood pressure
drugs (NSAID's) e.g. ibuprofen lowering effect
aminoglycoside antibiotics increased risk of hearing loss
amphotericin B increased risk of low potassium/magnesium levels
vancomycin increased risk of hearing loss
corticosteroids increased risk of low potassium/magnesium levels
digoxin increased risk of digoxin toxicity
halofantrine increase risk of heart rhythm disturbance
lithium increased risk of lithium toxicity
probenecid increased diuretic effect
bumetanide, torasemide increased diuretic effect
captopril decreased excretion of furosemide; increased risk of furosemide side effects

Disease interactions
Consult your doctor before using this drug if you have kidney or liver disease, are dehydrated, have a condition that makes urination difficult, have diabetes or if you have gout.

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

Recommended dosage
Dose: oral, 20-250 mg/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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