Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Dehydration: Furosemide is a potent diuretic (water pill) which, if given in excessive amounts, can lead to large amounts of urination resulting in dehydration. Symptoms of dehydration include dry mouth, thirst, decreased urination, reduced tearing, and reduced sweating. Make sure you are drinking an adequate amount of water to prevent these symptoms. You may wish to discuss with your doctor what an appropriate fluid intake is for you.
Dementia: Studies have shown that when furosemide is taken with risperidone by people who are over 61 years of age there is an increased rate of death. The combination of these two medications should be avoided.
Diabetes: Furosemide may reduce blood sugar control for people with diabetes. If you have diabetes or are at risk for developing diabetes, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed. You may be advised to increase the number of blood glucose checks that you do each day.
Drowsiness/reduced alertness: When you first start taking furosemide, it may cause drowsiness or dizziness, affecting your ability to drive or operate machinery. Avoid these and other hazardous tasks until you have determined how this medication affects you.
Fluid and electrolyte balance: This medication can affect the levels of electrolytes such as potassium, sodium, magnesium, chloride, and calcium. Your doctor will periodically check to see if these are in balance. Warning signs or symptoms of fluid and electrolyte imbalance include:
- dryness of mouth
- low blood pressure
- muscle pains or cramps
- muscular fatigue
- nausea and vomiting
- racing heartbeat
During long-term treatment with furosemide, a high-potassium diet is recommended. You may also require potassium supplements. Your doctor will monitor your potassium levels through occasional blood tests.
Gout: An acute gout attack may occur in some patients taking furosemide. Symptoms of an acute gout attack include sudden pain, swelling, and stiffness in the affected joint, often the big toe. You may also experience a fever. If this is your first attack, seek medical attention as soon as possible. If you have had gout attacks before, follow your doctor's instructions for dealing with the attack.
Kidney function: This medication works directly on the kidneys and may cause decreased kidney function over time. Kidney disease or reduced kidney function may cause this medication to build up in the body, causing side effects. If you have reduced kidney function, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Liver function: If you have liver disease or reduced liver function, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how their medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Sulfa medications: Furosemide is a sulfonamide derivative. Some people who are allergic to sulfonamides (such as sulpha antibiotics) also experience allergic reactions to furosemide. Before you take furosemide, inform your doctor about any previous adverse reactions you have had to medications, especially to other water pills or sulpha antibiotics. Contact your doctor at once if you experience signs of an allergic reaction, such as skin rash, itching, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the face and throat.
Pregnancy: The effect of taking furosemide on the unborn baby during pregnancy is unknown. This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: Furosemide passes into breast milk and may also partially reduce the amount of breast milk produced. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking furosemide, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
Seniors: Seniors may be more likely to experience increased side effects from furosemide.