written by: AlyssaAst•edited by: Emma Lloyd•updated: 5/9/2011
Triamterene HCTZ is a medication used to lower high blood pressure and reduce fluid retention. This medication should be used with caution because it can interact with other medications and, is known to produce many side effects.
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Triamterene works within the kidneys to eliminate salt and water from the body. This allows the medication to reduce fluid retention, lower blood pressure and minimize the loss of potassium from within the body.
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Although this medication can be taken on an empty stomach, it is often better to take it with food to reduce the chance of stomach upset. It is best to take this medication during the day because it cases increased urination. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember unless it is almost time for your next dose. If this is the case, skip the missed dose and wait until it is time for your next dose.
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Do not take this medication with alcohol: it can cause dizziness, lightheadedness and fainting. This medication can cause sensitivity to skin. For this reason, it is important to limit sun exposure, and to wear protective clothing and use sun screen when outside.
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This medication has shown to cause many side effects including changes in blood sugar, loss of appetite and stomach pain. Headache, fatigue, dizziness and weakness are other common side effects. The salivary glands can become inflamed from this medication. Nausea and stomach pain can also occur.
Rare and serious side effects are also known to be associated with use of this medication. Rare side effects include symptoms of allergic reaction such as hives, rash, and itching. Other symptoms of allergic reaction include difficulty breathing, swelling of the lips, face, mouth, and tongue.
Rare side effects associated to use of this medication include excessive thirst and dry mouth. Muscle cramps, impotence, and abnormal heart beat have been linked to this medication. Other rare side effects include mental confusion, yellowing of the eyes and skin, and stomach pain.
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Because this medication reduces the amount of potassium loss in the body, it is known to cause elevated potassium levels. This is extremely common in elderly patients. If the elevated potassium levels remain untreated death can occur. Frequent lab tests are needed to check potassium levels.
This medication is not recommended for people that have difficulty urinating, high potassium levels or have had kidney problems. This medication is not recommended for pregnant or breast feeding women. Discuss any natural remedies, herbal supplements and other medications you are using with your doctor before using triamterene HCTZ. If you have experienced liver problems, diabetes or gout this medication may not be right for you. People with low folic acid levels, elevated blood acid and electrolyte problems should not take this medication. Triamterene can interact with numerous medications. To see a complete list of medications that can cause an interaction, visit Drugs.com .