Furosemide is a strong diuretic ('water pill') and may cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. It is important that you take it exactly as told by your doctor. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: rapid, excessive weight loss; decreased urination; dry mouth; thirst; nausea; vomiting; weakness; drowsiness; confusion; muscle pain or cramps; or rapid or pounding heartbeats.
Why is this medication prescribed?
Furosemide is used alone or in combination with other medications to treat high blood pressure. Furosemide is used to treat edema (fluid retention; excess fluid held in body tissues) caused by various medical problems, including heart, kidney, and liver disease. Furosemide is in a class of medications called diuretics ('water pills'). It works by causing the kidneys to get rid of unneeded water and salt from the body into the urine.
High blood pressure is a common condition and when not treated, can cause damage to the brain, heart, blood vessels, kidneys and other parts of the body. Damage to these organs may cause heart disease, a heart attack, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, loss of vision, and other problems. In addition to taking medication, making lifestyle changes will also help to control your blood pressure. These changes include eating a diet that is low in fat and salt, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising at least 30 minutes most days, not smoking, and using alcohol in moderation.
How should this medicine be used?
Furosemide comes as a tablet and as a solution (liquid) to take by mouth. It usually is taken once or twice a day. When used to treat edema, furosemide may be taken daily or only on certain days of the week. When used to treat hypertension, take furosemide around the same time(s) every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take furosemide exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Furosemide controls high blood pressure and edema but does not cure these conditions. Continue to take furosemide even if you feel well. Do not stop taking furosemide without talking to your doctor.
Other uses for this medicine
This medicine is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking furosemide,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to furosemide, sulfonamide medications, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in furosemide tablets or solution. Ask your pharmacist or check the patient information for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: aminoglycoside antibiotics such as amikacin, gentamicin (Garamycin), or tobramycin (Bethkis, Tobi); angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors such as benazepril (Lotensin, in Lotrel), captopril (Capoten), fosinopril, lisinopril (in Prinzide, in Zestoretic), moexipril (Univasc, in Uniretic), perindopril (Aceon), quinapril (Accupril, in Accuretic), ramipril (Altace), and trandolapril (Mavik, in Tarka); angiotensin II receptor antagonists (ARB) such as azilsartan (Edarbi, Edarbyclor), candesartan (Atacand, in Atacand HCT), eprosartan (Teveten, in Teveten HCT), irbesartan (Avapro, in Avalide), losartan (Cozaar, in Hyzaar), olmesartan (Benicar, in Azor, Benicar HCT), telmisartan (Micardis, in Micardis HCT), and valsartan (Diovan, in Diovan HCT, Exforge); aspirin and other salicylates; barbiturates such as phenobarbital and secobarbital (Seconal); corticosteroids such as betamethasone (Celestone), budesonide (Entocort), cortisone (Cortone), dexamethasone (Decadron, Dexpak, Dexasone, others), fludrocortisone (Floriner), hydrocortisone (Cortef, Hydrocortone), methylprednisolone (Medrol, Meprolone, others), prednisolone (Prelone, others), prednisone (Deltasone, Meticorten, Sterapred, others), and triamcinolone (Aristocort, Azmacort); cisplatin (Platinol); cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune); digoxin (Lanoxin), ethacrynic acid (Edecrin); indomethacin (Indocin); laxatives; lithium (Lithobid); medications for diabetes, high blood pressure and pain; methotrexate (Trexall); probenecid (Probalan, Probenemid); and phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- if you are taking sucralfate (Carafate), take it 2 hours before or after you take furosemide.
- tell your doctor if you have kidney disease. Your doctor may tell you not to take furosemide.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had any condition that stops your bladder from emptying completely, diabetes, gout, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE, a chronic inflammatory condition), or liver disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. Do not breast-feed while taking this medicine. If you become pregnant while taking furosemide, call your doctor.
- plan to avoid unnecessary or prolonged exposure to sunlight and to wear protective clothing, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Furosemide may make your skin sensitive to sunlight.
- you should know that furosemide may cause dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting when you get up too quickly from a lying position. This is more common when you first start taking furosemide. To avoid this problem, get out of bed slowly, resting your feet on the floor for a few minutes before standing up. Alcohol can add to these side effects.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
If your doctor prescribes a low-salt or low-sodium diet, or to eat or drink increased amounts of potassium-rich foods (e.g., bananas, prunes, raisins, and orange juice) in your diet, follow these instructions carefully.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- frequent urination
- blurred vision
Some side effects can be serious. If you have any of these symptoms or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNINGS section, call your doctor immediately or seek emergency medical treatment:
- ringing in the ears
- loss of hearing
- blisters or peeling skin
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- yellowing of the skin or eyes
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medicine in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away unused furosemide solution after 90 days. Throw away any medicine that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medicine.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
Symptoms of overdose may include:
- extreme thirst
- dry mouth
- extreme tiredness
- stomach cramps
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your blood pressure should be checked regularly, and blood tests should be done occasionally.
Before having any laboratory test, tell your doctor and the laboratory personnel that you are taking furosemide.
Do not let anyone else take your medicine. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.