High blood pressure or spells of hypertension need to be treated in a timely manner. If left unchecked, it can – over a period of time – turn into a dangerous condition. People who have continued episodes of high blood pressure may encounter risks of heart attacks or a cardiac failure. Onset of other fatal conditions such as strokes, myocardial infarction, etc. is also common. Diuretic drugs – like furosemide – are often prescribed to treat hypertension. Furosemide is a relatively potent drug which helps eliminate excessive amount of fluids from your system. It is however important to know – how long you may need to take it.

High blood pressure is labelled as a silent killer. This condition does not show up through any major symptoms. It may remain latent for a fairly long time and may suddenly trigger a near-fatal or a fatal outcome. In this milieu, furosemide is a drug widely used for decreasing your blood pressure levels. Apart from bringing down blood pressure level, this med is also used for the treatment of edema; this is a condition wherein fluids build-up in internal organs such as lungs, heart, etc. Edema is viewed as a leading cause for renal disorders, failure of heart as well as hepatic conditions like cirrhosis of liver. In most instances, furosemide is used along with (i.e., co-administered) other drugs.

As mentioned above, furosemide is categorized under a class of drugs known as diuretics. It is available both as a generic drug and as a branded formulation. It is available in multiple forms – in a pill form (taken orally), as an injection and as a suspended / liquid form. It is generally used onto adults; in some cases though, the drug has also been prescribed onto children. Among children, the use however is quite rare – and is mainly administered for reducing accumulation of liquids in vital organs such as lungs.

How long you may need to take furosemide?

You need to note that furosemide is a relatively strong water pill (i.e., diuretic). It makes you to urinate and thus eliminates fluids in fairly large quantities from the body. This drug needs to be taken under the supervision and guidance of a qualified medical practitioner. Excessive intake of this drug may lead to risks of dehydration. The key signs of being dehydrated include drying of lips, parched tongue and a reduced output of urine. You may also lose essential minerals, salts and electrolytes if furosemide is taken in larger doses (i.e., more than what was prescribed by your treating physician). In general, your caregiving team may need to keep a close watch on your fluid levels – over periodic intervals.

Regular / continued use of furosemide

Continued intake of furosemide may lead to a few risks – key among them are hypotension (a markedly reduced blood pressure level), hypothyroidism as well as drop in potassium level. Hence, your medication plan needs to be administered strictly for the duration for which your treating doctor has recommended. You can identity the distinctive signs of hypotension (lower blood pressure level) – the typical signs may include feeling drowsy, experiencing excessive levels of dizziness, passing out (especially while you are changing postures), etc. As a safety measure, you are advised to shift positions –i.e., changing from a sleeping or sitting position to a standing posture – in a slow and steady manner.

Long term intake of furosemide

Intake of furosemide for a longer period of time may also cause drop in thyroid levels. This condition is clinically referred as hypothyroidism. This may also occur when you have taken larger doses (say, in excess of 80 milligrams – mg) of this drug. The signs are often quite distinct; these include sudden increase in your bodyweight, dryness of skin or hair, muscular weakness, weariness / tiredness as well as feeling excessively cold. Upon sensing one or more of these discomforts, you are advised to talk to your treating physician without much delay.

Another serious condition – associated with a long term intake of furosemide – is a sizeable drop in potassium levels in your blood. You need to know that potassium is essential for the wellbeing of your key organs like kidneys and for the functioning of heart; this mineral also plays a vital role in maintaining nerve health as well as muscular wellbeing. Inadequate supply of potassium may lead to erratic heartbeats and tiredness.

How long can you take it?

In general, there is no duration set for the medication plan. Your medical condition mainly decides the dosage level and the timeframe for which the dosages are to be taken. Among people living with kidney problems, a residue of furosemide may remain longer in your system. In such cases, a prolonged treatment plan is generally avoided. Also, for those with pre-existing conditions such as imbalanced levels of electrolytes, this drug is never administered over a sizable span of time.

Alcohol and furosemide

If you have drinking habits (i.e., daily intake of alcoholic drinks), it is important to inform your caregiver prior to starting your dosage plan. Intake of alcohol along with furosemide may cause acute spells of hypotension (a significant drop in blood pressure level), severe episodes of dizziness / drowsiness as well as accidental falls. Among elders, such falls may lead to fractures or damage to bones.

Other precautions needed prior to taking furosemide

Medical studies have not drawn conclusive evidences on the safe use of furosemide onto pregnant women. It is widely regarded as unsafe to take, while you are pregnant. Also, women who are planning to become pregnant are advised to use non-hormonal birth control measures (contraceptives such as vaginal rings, patches on skin, etc.) while using this med. The active ingredients of this drug are known to enter into mother’s milk; women who are nursing a newly born baby or feeding an infant need to stay away from it.

In sum, there is no pre-set timeline for the intake of furosemide. The duration of your treatment plan depends on your age, medical condition and presence of pre-existing ailments such as kidney problems, thyroid dysfunction, etc. If you notice side effects such as dryness of hair, toughening of skin, weakness, feeling very cold, etc., it is highly recommended to consult with your caregiver / pharmacist as soon as possible.

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