Ethacrynic acid, a 'water pill,' is used to treat high blood pressure and fluid retention caused by various medical problems. It causes the kidneys to get rid of unneeded water and salt from the body into the urine. This medicine is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Ethacrynic acid comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It usually is taken once or twice a day with food. If you take ethacrynic acid once a day, take it with breakfast in the morning. If you take it twice a day, take it in the morning and in the afternoon to avoid going to the bathroom during the night. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand.
Take ethacrynic acid exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor. Ethacrynic acid controls high blood pressure but does not cure it. Continue to take ethacrynic acid even if you feel well. Do not stop taking ethacrynic acid without talking to your doctor.
Ethacrynic acid is also used to treat high blood pressure and a certain type of diabetes insipidus that does not respond to other medicines. Talk to your doctor about the possible risks of using this medicine for your condition.
Before taking ethacrynic acid,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to ethacrynic acid or any other drugs.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially other blood pressure medications, anticoagulants ('blood thinners') such as warfarin (Coumadin), corticosteroids (e.g., prednisone), digoxin (Lanoxin), heart medications, lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid), medications for diabetes, probenecid (Benemid), and vitamins.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had diabetes, gout, or liver disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, do not take ethacrynic acid. If you become pregnant while taking ethacrynic acid, call your doctor immediately.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking ethacrynic acid.
- you should know that this drug may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this drug affects you.
- remember that alcohol can add to the drowsiness caused by this drug.
Follow your doctor's directions. They may include a daily exercise program, a low-salt or low-sodium diet, potassium supplements, and increased amounts of potassium-rich foods (e.g., bananas, prunes, raisins, and orange juice) in your diet.
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.
Frequent urination should go away after you take ethacrynic acid for a few weeks. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- upset stomach
- loss of appetite
- stomach pain
- muscle cramps
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- loss of hearing
- loss of balance
- ringing or fullness in the ears
- sore throat
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
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 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.
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your blood pressure should be checked regularly, and blood tests should be done occasionally. 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.