Excessive accumulation of salts can turn harmful to your body. Such conditions may eventually lead to renal dysfunction as well as a few cardiac problems. One of the commonly used approaches is to remove extra salts along with fluids. Drugs which help make you urinate more and help discharge salts (along with urine) are known as loop diuretics. In common terms, these meds are labelled as water pills. Furosemide is one such drug – used mainly for the treatment of fluid retention. But, what does this drug do to your body? It is important to know more on this.

Retention of fluids inside your system is not a healthy development. This condition needs to be treated without much delay. A common approach to treat it include intake of water pills or loop diuretic drugs. This drug makes you to urinate more often, and thus help eliminate extra liquids and salts from your body. If left untreated, fluids retained deep inside may cause heart problems and malfunctioning of kidneys. Not stopping with the aforementioned conditions, these pills also help treat fluid retention; which can impair your hepatic wellbeing. As salts are also flushed out of your system (along with urine), water pills are also prescribed for the treatment of hypertension or high blood pressure.

You are advised to take a few safety measures prior to starting your medication plan. For example – those living with renal problems such as poor rate of filtration of kidneys, people with a medical history of an imbalanced electrolyte level (suboptimal levels of magnesium or potassium in blood) or those living with diabetes (or high blood sugar levels) must tell their caregiving team about these conditions.

How to take furosemide?

Foremost of all, furosemide is a prescription med; hence, it must not be taken through self-medication route or as an over-the-counter med. This drug must always be administered under the guidance and supervision of a medical practitioner. Prior to taking this drug, you are advised to study all the instructions printed on its pack. A careful reading of the information booklet and medication guide ensures safer intake of this diuretic drug.

Those living with severe renal conditions or liver problems (such as cirrhosis or hepatitis) are advised to take the first few doses of this med in a clinical setting (like a hospital or a physician’s clinic). It is generally consumed orally; however, for people who cannot take it by mouth – this drug is injected directly through veins. In case of liquid forms of this drug, always use a measuring device provided along with the pack. In other words, never use a spoon from your household for measuring the doses. In some rare instances, this drug is administered onto children – i.e., those aged below 18 years. In such cases, dosages are administered based on the weight of the child. So, if your child loses or gains weight, dosages are appropriately altered.

What does furosemide do to your body?

This drug makes you to urinate at frequent intervals, and thus helps reduce salts. In the process, you may turn dehydrated and may also lose essential salts such as potassium. As a safety precaution, you are advised to talk to your caregiving team about the need to take supplements of potassium or magnesium. You are also quite likely to experience changes in blood pressure levels. Symptoms of low blood pressure include dizziness, feeling drowsy, becoming lightheaded and sweating profusely. If you are taking this drug to treat hypertension, you are advised to continue taking this med even after your pressure level comes under control.

The treating physician or pharmacist will tell you to shift postures in a slow and steady manner. A swift change of positions (say, from lying position to standing) may cause giddiness or drowsiness. Among elderly people, such actions may lead to accidental falls. If you have habits such as drinking alcohol, you must make your movements more slowly. Intake of alcohol along with furosemide may worsen dizziness levels and may lead to passing out or an acute loss of coordination.

Also, you need to stay cautious of diet / medications which can increase your blood pressure levels. For instance – a salt-heavy or oil-rich diet may raise your blood pressure. Similarly, intake of cough medication or drugs for treating common cold is likely to increase your blood pressure level. Hence, it is a good practice to consult with your treating doctor prior to taking such drugs. Those who have hearing problems or internal blockages in their ears must exert added caution. Larger doses of this drug may cause ringing deep inside your ears as well as loss of hearing.

Your body may also witness a few side effects. Common side effects include drop in appetite levels, blurring of eyesight, migraines, feeling dizzy, etc. If you are experiencing inflammation of limbs (especially, legs or ankles), pains in the top part of your abdomen, discoloration of eyes and / or skin, a tingling sensation, etc., you are advised to talk to your caregiving team without any further delay.

As an added precaution, you are advised to stay cautious of drugs that you may be currently taking. It is important to share the list of meds you presently take – including prescription meds, over the counter drugs, herbal supplements, vitamins, proteins, etc. If you are taking meds like sucralfate, it is strongly recommended to take it at least 3 hours prior to administering furosemide. Also, intake of drugs such as lithium (especially, among elders), muscle relaxants such as phenytoin or antibiotics must be informed to your pharmacist as well as treating doctor.

In sum, furosemide will make you urinate often to reduce extra fluids retained in your system. You may hence witness a loss of electrolytes such as potassium; in some one-off cases, your caregiving team may recommend intake of potassium supplements. This drug may bring about a drop in pressure level. You are hence advised to stay aware of risks of low blood pressure or hypotension; the typical signs of low blood pressure are drowsiness, sweating and being lightheaded. If you are taking this med to treat hypertension, it is a safe practice to check your blood pressure levels on a regular basis.

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