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The Side Effects of Chlorthalidone

written by: Lashan Clarke•edited by: Diana Cooper•updated: 10/31/2009

Read about the side effects of chlorthalidone, a diuretic that is administered to patients who have kidney disease, hypertension, or any type of heart disease that causes the body to retain fluid.

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    An Introduction To Chlorthalidone

    Chlorthalidone is a medication that is used to decrease the amount of water retained in the body. It belongs to the family of thiazide diuretics, and as a diuretic, it is used in the treatment of fluid retention. Diuretics such as chlorthalidone are mainly prescribed to patients who have kidney disease, hypertension, or heart disease that causes the body to retain fluid.

    This medication is mainly intended in situations in which the physician would like to increase the amount of water that is transferred to the urine. Therefore, the use of this drug is not indicated for anyone who is unable to urinate. It is also only administered under physician's care in anyone with liver disease, lupus, or asthma.

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    The Main Side Effects of Chlorthalidone

    Overall, the side effects of chlorthalidone is minimal but the largest side effect includes the increase need to urninate. This can result in a feeling of fullness in the bladder with an increased urgency. However, this usually occurs mainly within the first month and should dissipate.

    This medication is used mainly to treat increasing edema in the body associated with heart disease. By decreasing fluid levels, the body not only reduces swelling but also this lowers the blood pressure. A lower blood pressure ensures that the heart does not have to work as hard to circulate the blood.

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    Dosing & Drug Interactions

    Chlorthalidone is administered by oral ingestion and the dosage prescribed by a physician will vary. It is usually taken two to three times per day dependig on how severe the fluid edema. The way in which chlorthalidone works is that it causes the body to produce more urine by increasing the amount of sodium chloride the body excretes. By doing so, the body will also excrete more water into the urine.

    There are a few drug interactions associated with Chlorthalidone. It is should not be administered to anyone who is taking another diuretic, especially a thiazide diuretic. It also should not be used with certain heart medications such as anti-hypertensives or digoxin. Anyone on oral diabetic medication or steroids such as prednisone should immediately tell their physician as these medications can interact with the way chlorthalidone functions.

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    Minimal Side Effects Of Chlorthalidone

    Other minimal side effects of chlorthalidone include symptoms such as dizziness, weakness, and muscle cramps. These symptoms might be attributed to the body’s regulation of water loss in the urine. Other minor side effects include upset stomach, nausea, and vomiting.

    While taking this medication, it will be necessary to visit your physician regularly and the physician might even suggest a low salt diet. In cases where difficulty breathing, numbness, or bleeding occurs, consult emergency services immediately.


    Web Source: Cerner Multum, Inc. "Chlorthalidone" 2008. Available at: