In this session, we will be discussing the consumer medication information for furosemide, trade name LasixTM.
What it’s for & How to take
Furosemide increases the amount of urine you will eliminate. This medication helps your body get rid of extra water and salt. Furosemide is used to treat a buildup of fluid in your body, called edema. This medication is also used to treat high blood pressure.
Edema is when you have extra fluid in your body that causes swelling in your hands, feet or ankles. You may also feel shortness of breath or fluid in your abdomen. This is usually caused by some heart problem or a disease of your kidney or liver. Increasing the amount of urine you eliminate will help get rid of some of the extra fluid and decrease the symptoms of edema.
If high blood pressure is not treated, your blood vessels will harden, and this will eventually lead to a heart attack or a stroke. High blood pressure may also cause vision problems, kidney failure and eventually heart failure.
Furosemide is usually taken 1-2 times daily or as directed by your doctor. This medication may be taken with or without food. If you are taking this medication twice daily, take the second dose in the afternoon, not at bedtime. Taking furosemide at bedtime may cause you to get up to urinate after you have already gone to bed.
If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of your next dose, skip it and continue with your normal dose time. Do not take a double dose to make up the missed dose.
If you are taking furosemide to treat your blood pressure, keep using this medication, even if you don’t feel sick. You may need to treat your high blood pressure for many years.
Your blood pressure should be checked often to make sure the medication is working correctly.
You may need to have regular blood tests done while taking this medication. Lab tests are done to see how your body tolerates this medication.
Most Important Warnings
- Furosemide is a very potent diuretic. Excess amounts of this medication may cause large loss of body fluid. The dose needs to be specific for each patient and closely monitored by your doctor. Notify your doctor right away if you feel any muscle cramps, abnormal heartbeats, increased thirst or any other symptoms of dehydration.
Other Warnings & Cautions
- It is possible that taking furosemide may decrease your potassium levels. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about the possible need for a potassium supplement or foods high in potassium such as orange juice or bananas.
- Blood pressure medication may make you feel light-headed or dizzy. Take it slow when you go from a sitting to standing position. Balance yourself to make sure you are stable before taking a step.
- If you become dehydrated from excessive sweating, vomiting or diarrhea, you are more likely to feel the dizziness and light headedness from this medication.
- The elderly may be more sensitive to the side effects of this medication, especially the drowsiness and dizziness. The chance of loss of balance and falling are increased.
- Diabetic warning, this medication may affect your blood sugar. Watch for symptoms of increased blood sugar such as frequent urination and thirst. Watch for symptoms of decreased blood sugar such as dizziness, sweating, hunger and blurred vision. Diabetics, check your blood sugar and contact your doctor if you notice changes.
- You are more likely to get a sunburn while taking this medication. If you can’t stay out of the sun, cover up with clothing and sunscreen.
- This medication may make you dizzy, drowsy, or blur your vision. Do not drive or do any activity that requires focus and attention until you are sure you can do them safely. Limit alcoholic beverages while taking furosemide.
- Let your pharmacist or doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding before taking this medication.
Interactions & Side Effects
- Tell your pharmacist or doctor all your medication allergies so they may determine if furosemide is safe for you to take.
- Avoid dangerous drug interactions. Tell your pharmacist or doctor all the other medication you are taking, including over the counter supplements, even if you don’t take them very often.
- Ask your doctor if this medication is safe to take with your current health conditions. Tell your doctor if you have any liver or kidney disease, asthma, or any heart conditions.
- While taking furosemide, you may feel some dizziness, headache, possibly some nausea or diarrhea and perhaps some minor sexual dysfunction. If these or any other unwanted side effects persist, contact your doctor or pharmacist to talk about it with them.
- Call your doctor right away if you feel severe muscle cramping or weakness, an abnormal heartbeat, vision changes, or a really dry mouth and decreased urination.
- Call emergency 911 if you have any symptoms of a heart attack such as chest and left arm pain, shortness of breath and sweating or if you have symptoms of a stroke such as weakness on one side of your body, slurred speech, sudden vision changes, and confusion.
If you have any questions about what you have heard, contact your pharmacist or doctor. This session does not include all the potential interactions or side effects that this medication may cause. Ask your pharmacist how your medication should be stored and how you should dispose of it when you are done taking it. Do not share your medication with anyone, ever. Remember, this is not meant to replace your counseling session with your pharmacist. In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.