Hydrochlorothiazide, or the short-hand term hydrochlorot, is a diuretic used to treat high blood pressure, along with fluid retention from other conditions that can aggravate high blood pressure and cause swelling. The drug is sold in generic form and under several brand names. Hydrochlorot is associated with numerous side effects and drug interactions.
How Hydrochlorot Works
Hydrochlorot inhibits the kidneys' ability to retain water and thus prevents a body from absorbing too much salt and retaining fluid. The drug is used to control high blood pressure and to lessen fluid retention, or edema, caused by congestive heart failure, liver cirrhosis, kidney disorders, or from taking steroids or estrogen. Hydrochlorot also is used to treat kidney stones. It usually is taken once daily, far enough from bedtime to avoid waking up to urinate.
Minor Side Effects of Hydrochlorot
Numerous relatively minor side effects are associated with hydrochlorot. These include diarrhea, constipation, mild stomach pain, dry mouth, thirst, hair loss, light sensitivity, blurred vision, sleepiness, restlessness or light-headedness. Less common side effects include nausea, vomiting, weakness, fast or uneven heartbeat, muscle pain or weakness, numbness, skin rash, impotence or low fever. Drinking alcohol can increase side effects.
Serious Side Effects of Hydrochlorot
More serious side effects include jaundice, pancreatitis and severe allergic reactions. It can aggravate kidney dysfunction, and can precipitate latent diabetes by regularly raising blood sugar. Hydrochlorot sometimes creates electrolyte disturbances which can result in an abnormal heart rhythm. Potassium and magnesium supplements are advised when patients have low electrolyte levels. Hydrochlorot can also cause severe gout because it increases blood uric acid levels. The drug should not be taken during pregnancy.
Considerations Before Taking Hydrochlorot
Hydrochlorot interacts with many drugs, including lithium, digoxin, cholestyramine and colestipol. It interacts with steroids and anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen and many others, which can decrease its effectiveness. Since hydrochlorot can raise blood sugar levels, insulin and other diabetic medications may need to have adjusted dosages.
Overdose of Hydrochlorot
Overdoses of hydrochlorot can occur. For instance, it can happen when someone takes a double dose to try to make up for missing one. This typically results in dehydration and electrolyte depletion. Overdose also can cause more intense levels of the common side effects, along with confusion, fainting or seizures.