Triamterene is a diuretic - it will make you want to go to the toilet more often to pass urine.
It may cause your urine to look slightly blue in some lights - this is harmless.
The most common side-effect is a stomach upset.
|Type of medicine||Potassium-conserving diuretic|
|Used for||Oedema (water retention)|
Triamterene belongs to the group of medicines known as potassium-conserving diuretics. Diuretics are sometimes referred to as water tablets because they help your kidneys remove water from your body. Triamterene is called a potassium-conserving diuretic because, unlike some other diuretics, it does not cause your body to lose potassium. It is used to treat oedema; this is when there is a build-up of fluid in your body. It is commonly caused by heart failure, or liver or kidney disease.
Oedema occurs when 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 feel puffy. Triamterene prevents the build-up of this fluid by increasing the amount of urine your kidneys produce. It is usually taken alongside other diuretics.
Before taking triamterene
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 triamterene it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
- If you have problems with the way your kidneys work, or any difficulty passing urine.
- If you have sugar diabetes.
- If you have been told by a doctor that you have high levels of potassium in your blood.
- If you have a problem with your adrenal glands, called Addison's disease.
- If you are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
How to take triamterene
- Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about triamterene and a full list of side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
- Take triamterene exactly as your doctor has told you to. It is usual to take 3-5 capsules daily to begin with. After the first week or so, your doctor is likely to ask you to take the capsules on alternate days only. This is so they help your condition but avoid any unwanted symptoms. The directions will be printed on the label of the pack to remind you.
- Diuretics are best taken no later than mid-afternoon. This is because you may find you need to go to the toilet a couple of times after taking them and this will disturb your sleep if you take them late in the day. It is probably best to split the total number of capsules you need to take during a day into two, taking half after breakfast, and half after lunch.
- You can take triamterene before or after meals, but some people feel queasy after taking it. Taking the capsules after meals helps to prevent this.
- If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is after 6 pm in the evening, skip the missed dose. Do not take two doses at the same time to make up.
Getting the most from your treatment
- 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 diuretics and your doctor will want you to have blood tests to check for this.
- Triamterene can cause your urine to look slightly blue in some lights - this is harmless and nothing to be concerned about.
- 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.
- Because triamterene is a potassium-conserving diuretic, you should try to avoid things with a high potassium content, such as 'salt substitutes'. This is so the level of potassium in your body does not become too high.
- Treatment with diuretics is usually long-term, so continue to take these capsules unless you are advised otherwise.
- 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.
Can triamterene cause problems?
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 triamterene side-effects||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Feeling or being sick||Stick to simple foods - avoid rich or spicy meals. Make sure you take the capsules after a meal or a snack|
|Diarrhoea||Drink plenty of water to replace lost fluids|
|Headache||Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller|
|Dry mouth, feeling thirsty||Let your doctor know if this becomes troublesome|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store triamterene
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
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 at once. 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.
Do not 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; 64th Edition (Sep 2012) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London (links to current BNF)
- Manufacturer's PIL, Dytac® 50 mg Capsules; Mercury Pharma Group, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated May 2012.
|Original Author: Helen Allen||Current Version: Helen Allen||Peer Reviewer: Dr Helen Huins|
|Last Checked: 05/02/2013||Document ID: 3202 Version: 23||© EMIS|
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.