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Hydrochlorothiazide

Hydrochlorothiazide

Descriptions

Hydrochlorothiazide is used alone or together with other medicines to treat high blood pressure (hypertension). High blood pressure adds to the workload of the heart and arteries. If it continues for a long time, the heart and arteries may not function properly. This can damage the blood vessels of the brain, heart, and kidneys, resulting in a stroke, heart failure, or kidney failure. High blood pressure may also increase the risk of heart attacks. These problems may be less likely to occur if blood pressure is controlled.

Hydrochlorothiazide is also used to treat fluid retention (edema) that is caused by congestive heart failure, severe liver disease (cirrhosis), kidney disease, or treatment with a steroid or hormone medicine.

Why it's used

Hydrochlorothiazide is used to treat high blood pressure. It’s also used to treat swelling that’s caused by heart failure, liver damage (cirrhosis), and taking certain medications (corticosteroids or estrogens). It may also help treat swelling that’s caused by kidney problems.

This drug may be used alone. If you have a severe form of high blood pressure, it may be used with other drugs.

How it works

Hydrochlorothiazide belongs to a class of drugs called thiazide diuretics. A class of drugs refers to medications that work similarly. They have a similar chemical structure and are often used to treat similar conditions.

It isn’t known exactly how hydrochlorothiazide works. It’s thought that it works to remove excess salt and water from your body. This keeps your heart from working as hard to pump blood. This lowers high blood pressure levels and reduces swelling.

Why is this medication prescribed?

Hydrochlorothiazide is used alone or in combination with other medications to treat high blood pressure. Hydrochlorothiazide is used to treat edema (fluid retention; excess fluid held in body tissues) caused by various medical problems, including heart, kidney, and liver disease and to treat edema caused by using certain medications including estrogen and corticosteroids. Hydrochlorothiazide is in a class of medications called diuretics ('water pills'). It works by causing the kidneys to get rid of unneeded water and salt from the body into the urine.

High blood pressure is a common condition and when not treated, can cause damage to the brain, heart, blood vessels, kidneys and other parts of the body. Damage to these organs may cause heart disease, a heart attack, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, loss of vision, and other problems. In addition to taking medication, making lifestyle changes will also help to control your blood pressure. These changes include eating a diet that is low in fat and salt, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising at least 30 minutes most days, not smoking, and using alcohol in moderation.

Side Effects

Upset stomach, dizziness, or headache may occur as your body adjusts to the medication. If any of these effects last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

To reduce the risk of dizziness and lightheadedness, get up slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position.

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

Hydrochlorothiazide Warnings

To ensure that you can safely take hydrochlorothiazide, it’s important that you tell your doctor if you are suffering from any of the following:

  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Glaucoma
  • Asthma or allergies
  • Gout
  • Diabetes
  • An allergy to sulfa drugs or penicillin
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