Furosemide is a diuretic. Diuretics are referred to as "water pills" because they decrease the amount of water retained in the body by increasing urination. Diuretics are used to treat edema (fluid retention and swelling especially of the hands and feet caused by heart failure and other diseases) and hypertension (high blood pressure).
May take with food or milk if stomach upset occurs. If this medication is taken in the late afternoon or evening, you may need to get up during the night to urinate. Consult with your doctor regarding your dosing schedule.
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to furosemide: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Stop using furosemide and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:
- ringing in your ears, hearing loss;
- itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
- severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, nausea and vomiting;
- weight loss, body aches, numbness;
- swelling, rapid weight gain, urinating less than usual or not at all;
- chest pain, new or worsening cough with fever, trouble breathing;
- pale skin, bruising, unusual bleeding, feeling light-headed, rapid heart rate, trouble concentrating;
- low potassium (confusion, uneven heart rate, leg discomfort, muscle weakness or limp feeling);
- low calcium (tingly feeling around your mouth, muscle tightness or contraction, overactive reflexes);
- headache, feeling unsteady, weak or shallow breathing; or
- severe skin reaction -- fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain, followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling.
Before using this drug, tell your doctor your medical history especially of: kidney problems, unusual decrease in urine output, liver disease, diabetes, drug allergies. This drug may reduce the potassium levels in your blood. Ask your doctor about adding potassium to your diet. A potassium supplement may be prescribed by your doctor. Furosemide may make you more sensitive to sunlight. Use a sunscreen and wear protective clothing.
Alcohol may intensify side effects. Limit your alcohol intake. Furosemide should be used only when clearly needed during pregnancy. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. This drug is excreted into breast milk. Though, to date, no problems have been reported to nursing infants, consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
If you take sucralfate (Carafate), take it at least 2 hours before or after you take furosemide.
Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use, especially:
- cisplatin (Platinol);
- cyclosporine (Neoral, Gengraf, Sandimmune);
- ethacrynic acid (Edecrin);
- lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid);
- methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall);
- phenytoin (Dilantin);
- an antibiotic such as amikacin (Amikin), cefdinir (Omnicef), cefprozil (Cefzil), cefuroxime (Ceftin), cephalexin (Keflex), gentamicin (Garamycin), kanamycin (Kantrex), neomycin (Mycifradin, Neo Fradin, Neo Tab), streptomycin, tobramycin (Nebcin, Tobi);
- heart or blood pressure medication such as amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone), benazepril (Lotensin), candesartan (Atacand), eprosartan (Teveten), enalapril (Vasotec), irbesartan (Avapro, Avalide), lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril), losartan (Cozaar, Hyzaar), olmesartan (Benicar), quinapril (Accupril), ramipril (Altace), telmisartan (Micardis), valsartan (Diovan), and others;
- a laxative (Metamucil, Milk of Magnesia, Colace, Dulcolax, Epsom salts, senna, and others)
- salicylates such as aspirin, Disalcid, Doan's Pills, Dolobid, Salflex, Tricosal, and others; or
- steroids (prednisone and others).
This list is not complete and other drugs may interact with furosemide.
If you miss a dose, take as soon as remembered; do not take if it is almost time for the next dose, instead, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not "double-up" the dose to catch up.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and sunlight. Do not store in the bathroom.