Diuretics (Water Pills)

When you have heart failure your body retains extra fluid. This excess fluid retention can occur in your lungs, legs, and abdomen. It can make your breathing more difficult by causing shortness of breath. It can also cause discomfort in your legs.

Diuretics, commonly called water pills, help your body get rid of its extra fluid and salt (sodium). This medication can help improve your congestive heart failure symptoms and avoid them from getting worse. One-way diuretics work is to assist in draining out excess fluid from the lungs to make breathing easier. However, taking diuretics make you urinate a lot. But don't be alarmed frequent urination is a good sign that the medication is working.

When taking diuretics, it is important to remember to take your pill(s) every day as instructed by your healthcare provider. This will allow you to get the most benefit from the medication. Also, your doctor may change the dose of your diuretic in order to help you feel better. It is important to always communicate regularly with your doctors and let them know how you are feeling so that they can guide your medical therapy.

Examples of Diuretics:

  • Furosemide (Lasix)
  • Torsemide (Demadex)
  • Bumetanide (Bumex)
  • Metolazone (Zaroxolyn)

Diuretic side effects may include: weakness, dizziness, headache, upset stomach, mild skin rash or itching, muscle cramping, or dry mouth. Consult your doctor if you experience an inability or decreased ability to pass urine, itching or hives, extreme weakness or cramping, dizziness and fainting, and if you have a sulfa allergy.

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