Why is this medication prescribed?
Triamterene is used alone or with other medications to treat edema (fluid retention; excess fluid held in body tissues) caused by various conditions, including liver and heart disease. Triamterene is in a class of medications called diuretics ('water pills'). It causes the kidneys to eliminate unneeded water and sodium from the body into the urine, but reduces the loss of potassium.
How should this medicine be used?
Triamterene comes as a capsule to take by mouth. It usually is taken once a day in the morning after breakfast or twice a day after breakfast and lunch. It is best to take triamterene earlier in the day so that frequent trips to the bathroom do not interfere with nighttime sleep. Take triamterene at around the same time(s) every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take triamterene exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Other uses for this medicine
Triamterene is used in combination with other diuretics to treat high blood pressure.
This medicine may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking triamterene,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to triamterene or any other medications (Dyazide, Maxzide).
- do not take triamterene if you are taking amiloride (Midamor), spironolactone (Aldactone), or other medications containing triamterene.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors such as benazepril (Lotensin), captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), fosinopril (Monopril), lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril), moexipril (Univasc), perindopril, (Aceon), quinapril (Accupril), ramipril (Altace), and trandolapril (Mavik); lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid); nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn); medications for diabetes, or high blood pressure; other diuretics; and potassium supplements. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had diabetes, gout, kidney stones, or heart, kidney, or liver disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. If you become pregnant while taking triamterene, call your doctor. Do not breastfeed if you are taking triamterene.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking triamterene.
- plan to avoid unnecessary or prolonged exposure to sunlight and to wear protective clothing, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Triamterene may make your skin sensitive to sunlight.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Follow your doctor's directions for your meals, including advice for a reduced salt (sodium) diet and daily exercise program. Avoid potassium-containing salt substitutes while you are taking this medication..Talk with your doctor about the amount of potassium-rich foods (e.g., bananas, prunes, raisins, and orange juice) that you may have in your diet.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Triamterene may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- muscle weakness or cramps
- slow or irregular heartbeat
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- upset stomach
- extreme tiredness
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- lack of energy
- loss of appetite
- pain in the upper right part of the stomach
- yellowing of the skin or eyes
- flu-like symptoms
- sore throat
- severe dry mouth
- unusual bruising or bleeding
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medicine in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medicine that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medicine.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
Symptoms of overdose may include:
- upset stomach
- weakness or tiredness
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your body's response to triamterene.
Do not let anyone else take your medicine. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
Last Reviewed - 09/01/2010