Furosemide is used to treat water retention caused by heart failure, kidney or liver disease. Water retention may be noticed as swelling of the feet, ankles, lower leg and hands or shortness of breath. For this reason, it is commonly known as a "water pill".
This medicine is also used to treat high blood pressure.
Take Furosemide exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not take more or less than instructed by your doctor.
You may take this medicine with or without food. If you experience stomach discomfort with Furosemide, take it with food. Try to take it at the same time each day.
Furosemide is available as tablet or solution.
If you are taking an oral solution shake the bottle well before you take it to ensure that the liquid is evenly mixed. Use the measuring spoon or cup provided to measure your dose.
You may need to pass urine more often while being treated with Furosemide. Take this medicine early in the day, preferably in the morning. If your doctor has told you to take it twice a day, take the last dose in the late afternoon. This is to prevent you from waking up frequently at night to go to the toilet.
Furosemide must be taken regularly for it to be effective. Continue taking this medicine even when you feel better. Do not stop taking it unless instructed by your doctor.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your normal schedule.
DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.
If you often forget to take your medicine, let your doctor and pharmacist know.
Alert your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- unable to pass urine
- severe kidney disease
- Addison’s disease (disease of the adrenal glands)
- low electrolyte levels (e.g. potassium, sodium)
- low blood volume
- low blood pressure
- severe liver disease (e.g. cirrhosis)
- porphyria (an inherited disorder that causes skin or nervous system abnormalities)
as Furosemide may not be suitable for you.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- prostate or bladder problems
- gout (high uric acid level in the blood)
- systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation
- liver disease
- kidney disease
- an allergy to sulfonamides (e.g. sulfa-containing antibiotic)
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving this medicine to the elderly. Elderly people may be more sensitive to the side effects.
Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly.
- Routine tests (e.g. kidney function, electrolyte levels) may be done while you are being treated with this medicine
- Your blood pressure may rise to unsafe levels without you noticing it. Monitor your blood pressure during treatment.
What lifestyle changes can I make to improve my blood pressure?
Regular exercise and eating a healthy diet will help control your blood pressure and improve your overall health. Engage in physical activity like walking for at least 30 to 60 minutes on most days of the week. If you have not exercised for a long time, start with light exercises such as slow walks. Speak to your doctor about what type of exercise would be suitable for you. Follow a healthy diet plan by eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products and reduce your intake of foods high in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. Cutting down on deep-fried foods and using less salt when cooking can kick-start your healthy diet.
If you smoke, you should try to quit. Smoking is harmful to your blood pressure, heart and overall health. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist about ways to stop your smoking habit.
Furosemide may cause dizziness or blurred vision. If affected, do not drive or take part in any activity in which you need to be alert or need to see clearly.
This medicine may cause your blood pressure to fall suddenly when you get up from a sitting or lying down position and you may feel giddy. To minimise this problem, stand up slowly.
You may need to pass urine more often while you are being treated with Furosemide. As your body adjusts to the medicine, this urination effect should also decrease.
Furosemide may also make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Apply sunscreen when going outdoors and avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight and UV lamps.
Other side effects include any of the following: headache, thirst, stomach cramps, decreased appetite, nausea, diarrhoea, constipation and vomiting.
Some side effects may be serious although they are not common. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience:
- rashes, breathlessness, swelling of the face, eyes or mouth
- hearing problems such as loss of hearing, ringing or buzzing sounds in the ear
- fainting, mental confusion, muscle weakness or pain
- unable to pass urine or blood in urine
- severe stomach or back pain with vomiting
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Do not take Furosemide if you are taking other water pills (e.g. amiloride, spironolactone).
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:
- medicines for high blood pressure e.g. aliskiren, hydralazine
- NSAIDs (medicines for pain and inflammation) e.g. indometacin, ketorolac
- medicines for epilepsy (fits) e.g. phenytoin, carbamazepine
- medicines for diabetes e.g. insulin
- antibiotics e.g. amikacin, vancomycin
- lithium (medicine for mood disorders) e.g. lithium, pimozide, amisulpride
- probenecid (medicine for gout)
- medicines for irregular heartbeat e.g. digoxin, amiodarone, flecainide
- medicine for cancer e.g. cisplatin, methotrexate
- sucralfate (medicine for stomach ulcer)
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Furosemide.
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicine, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.