Blood pressure reads at 120 over 80 (120/60) at normal conditions. When this measure fares as 130 / 89 – it is termed stage 1 hypertension; 140 / 90 is categorized as stage 2. Beyond 180 / 120 level, it is called hypertensive crisis. Frequent spells of high pressure can cause damage to blood vessels. If left untreated, severe conditions such as kidney problems, atherosclerosis and cardiac disorders may show up. Furosemide is widely administered to reduce blood pressure level. But, can this drug cause any adverse side effects? It is essential to know more on this prior to starting your medication plan.

Furosemide is administered to remove extra fluids. By removing liquids (and salts), this med helps bring down blood pressure level. Its key ingredients make you to urinate more to bring about needful relief from pressure build-up. Furosemide is also used to manage conditions such as edema wherein there is an accumulation of liquids. Edema may cause swelling of limbs (hands and legs) along with a marked rise in blood pressure (this condition is also termed as hypertension). You need to know that furosemide is categorized under a genre of meds called diuretics or water pills.

Furosemide needs to be taken under the supervision of a qualified medical practitioner. It is usually consumed as a part of a holistic treatment. The treatment includes switching over to salt-less / oil-free diet, stopping to drink alcohol or smoking tobacco products, taking-up weight loss goals and pursuing a regular exercise regimen. Your caregiving team may also tell you to reduce stress; in general, it is a safe practice to pursue mind relaxation techniques such as meditation. If you already have renal ailments, your treating physician needs to be aware of such conditions. It is safe to eat potassium-rich foods such as raisins, salmon, sweet potato, avocado, spinach or bananas.

Side effects of furosemide

This diuretic drug is likely to cause a few minor side effects. Those who have prior hypersensitivity to water pills need to tell their doctor about such conditions. Your treating doctor may prescribe safer alternatives to avoid any major risks. The most common side effects of furosemide include urges to urinate more, blurring of eyesight, headaches or migraines, nausea, diarrhea as well as vomiting. The good thing is – many of these discomforts are not severe conditions. These may disappear as you start using water pills as per your dosage plan. This is because your body may soon get used to the active ingredients. However, in some remote cases, people have noticed persistence of these discomforts for more than 4 days; in such cases, it is important to consult with your caregiver without any delay.

In some stray instances, furosemide may cause a few skin problems; such discomforts may show up as itchiness, rashes, yellowing of skin, etc. In some one-off instances, furosemide may trigger loss of hearing and / or ringing inside your ears. Upon experiencing any of these acute discomforts, it is a good practice to talk to your caregiving team and / or pharmacist without any further delay.

Risks of side effects triggered by an overdose of furosemide

Taking an overdose of this med can cause near-fatal or – at times, even fatal outcomes. Users may take larger doses – i.e., more than prescribed levels, in their enthusiasm to hasten their cure. Such larger doses may worsen your present hypertensive condition. People who took an overdose experienced acute side effects such as epileptic fits, convulsions, seizures, respiratory problems (viz., wheezing, gasping or shallow breathing), loss of coordination or impairment of motor function.

If you experience discomforts in the form of cramping of muscles (especially in the abdominal region) or severe episodes of thirstiness (marked by parching of lips, drying of skin, hoarseness, soreness of throat, etc.), it is a safe practice to dial 911 as quickly as possible. You can also call the helpdesk of the food and drug administration (FDA) in the US; its helpdesk is open on a 24 X 7 basis, to collect inputs on acute side effects caused by meds this federal agency has cleared. On the other hand, residents of Canada can rush to a local poison control center (functioning in your province or closer to where you live); you can also contact the emergency helplines of Health Canada.

Safety precautions needed prior to taking furosemide

Furosemide is likely to make users more sensitive to sun’s rays and light. Hence, always leave your home or office only after wearing protective clothing, sun lotion or a cream. If you are opting for a surgical procedure or a dental treatment, your surgeon / dentist needs to be informed of furosemide and the dosages you take. It is a safe practice to discontinue the intake of this med for 10 to 14 days prior to such surgical or dental interventions.

Pregnant women need to inform their treating doctor about their condition – i.e., prior to starting a new medication / treatment plan. Those who are planning to get pregnant (while using furosemide) must use needful contraceptives to avoid unplanned pregnancies. In such instances, it is considered safe to use non-hormonal birth control measures (viz., skin patches, vaginal rings, etc.).  Also, remember that the key chemicals can enter into breastmilk. So, breastfeeding mothers must stay away from taking furosemide. Men – especially, elderly men, who have an enlarged prostate, internal obstruction (in their bladder) and / or urinary conditions must let their caregiver know about their problems. Prior to taking a scan (such as magnetic resonance imaging – MRI) or a CT, a dye is injected to enable better contrast. You need to know such dyes can be harmful (mainly to your renal health) if you are taking doses of furosemide.

In sum, you are advised to take furosemide – a diuretic drug – as per the instructions of your treating doctor. It is taken to decrease blood pressure level. Never take larger doses of this med; it can lead to an overdosed condition. You can tell if you are overdosed by a few distinctive signs – such as dehydration, cramping of abdominal muscles, convulsions or epileptic fits. Upon encountering any of these signs, it is strongly recommended to talk to your physician on an urgent mode.

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