Bumetanide

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Bumetanide is a diuretic (a water tablet).

It will make you go to the toilet more often to pass urine.

Type of medicine Loop diuretic
Used for Oedema (water retention)
Available as Tablets and oral liquid

Bumetanide belongs to the group of medicines known as loop diuretics. Diuretics are sometimes referred to as water tablets. It is used to treat oedema (water retention), which is commonly caused by heart failure.

Heart failure is a condition where fluid accumulates in your body due to your heart not pumping blood around your body as well as it normally would. Fluid leaks out of your blood vessels, causing swelling in the tissues of your lungs, feet or ankles. This makes you feel breathless and your legs puffy. Bumetanide prevents the build-up of this fluid by increasing the amount of urine your kidneys produce.

Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking bumetanide it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:

  • If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • If you have kidney problems, difficulty passing urine, or are dehydrated.
  • If you have prostate or liver problems.
  • If you have gout or diabetes, as these conditions may be made worse by diuretics.
  • If you have been told you have low sodium or potassium levels in your blood.
  • If you are taking other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal and complementary medicines.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine. 
  • Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about bumetanide and a full list of side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
  • Take bumetanide exactly as your doctor has told you. Your doctor will tell you how many tablets to take and when to take them. Your dose will also be on the label of the pack to remind you.
  • Bumetanide is commonly prescribed just once daily and you can generally take the dose at a time to suit you. For example, if you want to go out in the morning and don't want to have to find a toilet, delay taking the tablet until the afternoon. However, it is best if you take bumetanide no later than mid-afternoon. This is because you will find you need to go to the toilet a couple of times within a few hours of taking the tablet and this will disturb your sleep if you take it late in the day.
  • Swallow the tablets with half a glassful of water. You can take bumetanide before or after your meals.
  • If you miss a dose of bumetanide, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is after 6 pm in the evening, skip the missed dose and continue taking it at the usual times the next day. Do not take two doses at the same time to make up.
  • Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress. The salt balance in your bloodstream may be upset by bumetanide. This can cause a low blood level of potassium, sodium, and magnesium, and a high level of calcium. You doctor may want you to have a blood test from time to time to check for these problems.
  • Treatment with diuretics is usually long-term, so continue to take these tablets unless you are advised otherwise.
  • Diuretics help you to lose water, so you can breathe and move more easily. If, however, you lose too much fluid, you may become dehydrated. This will make you feel thirsty and make your skin look and feel dry. Let your doctor know if this happens, as your dose may need to be adjusted.
  • If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with your other medicines.
  • If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.

Common bumetanide side-effects
What can I do if I experience this?
Dry mouth Try chewing sugar-free gum or sweets
Stomach upset Stick to simple meals - avoid rich or spicy foods
Dizziness or feeling faint especially when getting up Getting up more slowly should help. If you begin to feel dizzy, lie down so that you do not faint, then sit for a few minutes before you stand
Muscle cramps, joint pain, eyesight problems, tinnitus (a ringing in your ears), headache, skin rash, increased sensitivity to sunlight and feeling tired If any of these become troublesome, tell your doctor

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.

Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.

This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.

Never keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.

If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

Further reading & references

  • British National Formulary; 63rd Edition (Mar 2012) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.

Original Author:
Helen Allen
Current Version:
Peer Reviewer:
Dr Hannah Gronow
Document ID:
3498 (v26)
Last Checked:
23/10/2012
Next Review:
23/10/2015
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