Triamterene

Triamterene is used as a method to prevent the body from absorbing too much salt, in a potassium-sparing diuretic (water pill) form. This treatment keeps the potassium levels in a patient’s body from getting too low.

Overview:

Primarily, Triamterene is used as a treatment for fluid retention (edema) in patients with congestive heart failure, a kidney condition called nephrotic syndrome or cirrhosis of the liver.

In addition, Triamterene can be used as a medication to treat edema or fluid retention that is caused by having too much aldosterone in your body, a hormone produced by the adrenal glands to help the body to regulate the salt and water balance, or by using steroid medicine.

Triamterene is a medicine prescribed by medical professionals, and as such the dosage and usage is determined on a patient-by-patient individual basis, to be followed by the patient externally from a treatment facility. Triamterene can be used in combination with other diuretics in order to treat high blood pressure.

Conditions Treated:

Triamterene is used as a treatment medication for the following conditions or illnesses:

  • Accumulation of fluid resulting from chronic heart failure
  • Fluid in the lungs caused by chronic heart failure
  • Visible water retention
  • High blood pressure
  • Low level of potassium in the blood

Type of Medicine:

  • Antihypertensive
  • Diuretic, Potassium-Sparing
  • Capsule to take by mouth

Side Effects:

The most major, or serious, side effect of Triamterene is hyperkalaemia (high potassium). If the patient experiences any of the following symptoms, it is imperative to contact a medical professional immediately:

  • Nausea
  • Slow or unusual heart rate
  • Weakness
  • Loss of movement

Other serious side effects of Triamterene that require immediate medical attention or consultancy with a medical professional include:

  • Pale skin
  • Easy bruising
  • Bleeding
  • Slow, fast, or uneven heartbeat
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
  • Little or no urination

When taking Triamterene, also be aware of other conditions caused by the medication, including kidney stones, which require immediate medical attention. The symptoms of kidney stones include:

  • Sudden pain in your back or side
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Painful urination
  • Urine that looks pink, brown, red, or cloudy

Triamterene is used to prevent increased potassium, however, in the case of incorrect dosage or side effects that may indicate low potassium, medical help should be sought immediately. The symptoms of low potassium are as follows:

  • Leg cramps
  • Constipation
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Fluttering in your chest
  • Increased thirst or urination
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Muscle weakness
  • Feeling limp

Other common, less dangerous side effects likely to be caused by Triamterene may include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrheal
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Feeling weak or tired

To help reduce the risk of dizziness and light-headedness when using Triamterene, get up slowly when rising from either a sitting or lying position to prevent potential problems.

For any serious side effects experienced, or any signs of an allergic reaction to the medication such as hives, difficulty breathing, and swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat, aim to receive emergency medical attention as quickly as possible.

Dosage:

Triamterene dosage is highly dependent on the discretion of the medical professional who prescribes the drug, in addition to varying depending on the requirements of the patient, with an average of 100mg twice per day for patients taking the medication for both Ascites and Edema, with a total maximum of 300mg. As with many medications, the optimal effects of Triamterene may not be seen for several days.

Dyrenium, the US brand name for Triamterene, is available in the following dosages:

  • Dyrenium: 50 mg
  • Dyrenium: 100 mg

The medication comes as a capsule to take by mouth. Usually, Triamterene is taken once a day in the morning after breakfast or twice a day - after breakfast and after lunch. Taking Triamterene earlier in the day is recommended so that frequent trips to the bathroom do not interfere with sleep during the night.

Patients are advised to take Triamterene at around the same time(s) every day during their treatment period. Taking triamterene exactly as directed is key to effective treatment. More or less of this drug should not be taken, and patients should stick strictly to the amount prescribed by your doctor.

It is essential to take a missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for your next treatment, skip the missed dose and continue your regular medication schedule. Do not take a larger or double dose to make up for a missed one, as this can result in further issues including potential overdose. If you’re unsure if you’ve taken your medication for that day, do not take a second dose, just in case. If you've experienced any of the following symptoms and believe you have taken more Triamterene than prescribed, then you may have taken an overdose and should request emergency medical help immediately:

  • Blurred vision
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness or light-headedness that occurs when getting up from a lying or sitting position suddenly
  • Indigestion
  • Pain or weakness in the hands or feet
  • Passing of gas
  • Stomach fullness or discomfort
  • Sweating
  • Trembling

Interactions:

Many drugs can interact with other drugs within the human body, both those currently being taken and those taken recently, which can lead to changing effects of medication and even additional side effects that can cause the medication to become ineffective or even cause harm to the patient.

Patients and physicians should keep an up-to-date list of all medications and diagnostic drugs currently in use in order to prevent issues with negative drug interaction. This allows a medical professional to build a fully realized picture of the patient's medical history and any current or past reactions to drugs that may influence the medical professional's decision to prescribe Triamterene as a viable medication.

It’s critical that the patient’s doctor is aware of every drug within their system, from long-term medication to over the counter drugs, and makes their doctor aware of their current and recent medication usage to ensure treatment that is effective and is less likely to cause harm.

The following medications can cause a severe interaction when taken with Triamterene, and it is recommended for the patient to content their healthcare professional urgently if already taking one of these medications:

  • Potassium-Sparing Diuretics/Cyclosporine; Tacrolimus
  • Diuretics/Sodium Phosphate Bowel Cleanser
  • Potassium Sparing Diuretics/Aldosterone Receptor Antagonists
  • Potassium Sparing Diuretics/Potassium Preps

The following medications can cause a moderate interaction when taken with Triamterene, and it is recommended for the patient to content their healthcare professional if already taking one of these medications or if both medications are taken together unintentionally:

  • Triamterene; Amiloride/Selected NSAIDs
  • Triamterene; Amiloride/NSAIDs
  • Antihypertensives/Tizanidine
  • Diuretics/Empagliflozin
  • Potassium-Sparing Diuretics/Canagliflozin; Dapagliflozin
  • Diuretics/Zoledronic Acid
  • Potassium Sparing Diuretics/Drospirenone
  • Potassium Sparing Diuretics/Ace Inhibitors; Arbs; Aliskiren

Some of the noted side effects of Triamterene usually do not require medical attention. These side effects may go away over the time of the treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Your health care professional may also be able to tell you about ways to help prevent or reduce some of the listed side effects. Speak with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue, are bothersome, or you have any queries about them:

  • Increased sensitivity of skin to sunlight
  • redness or other discoloration of the skin
  • severe sunburn

Certain drugs should generally not be used at or around the time of eating food, both in general or specific food types, as interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medications may also cause interactions to occur.

Using Triamterene with any or all of the following is usually not recommended, but may be unavoidable in some cases. If used together, a medical professional may need to alter the dose or how often you take this medicine, or give you special instructions about the use of this medication with this interaction.

  • Tobacco

Using Triamterene with any of the following items may cause a larger risk of certain side effects, but these may be unavoidable in some cases. If used in conjunction with this medication, a medical professional may choose to change the dose or alter how often you use this medicine, or give you further instruction.

  • Food containing Potassium

The presence of other pre-existing medical conditions may also affect the use of this medicine effectively, or cause other unintended side effects. Ensure a medical professional is informed if you have any other medical problems, as this medication can make these illnesses recurrent or worse:

  • Anuria (inability to pass urine)
  • Diabetes
  • Hyperkalemia (high potassium in the blood)
  • Kidney disease, severe
  • Liver disease, severe
  • Folic acid deficiency
  • Gout
  • Hyperuricemia (high uric acid in the blood)
  • Hypokalemia (low potassium in the blood)
  • Hyponatremia (low sodium in the blood)
  • Kidney stones, history of

Warnings:

Before choosing to take Triamterene as a treatment, there are several things you should consider. First and foremost, ensure the patient informs a medical professional if any of the following are true:

  • The patient is allergic – either severe or mildly - to triamterene or any other similar medications (Dyazide, Maxzide).
  • The patient is currently, or has recently, been taking Amiloride (Midamor), Spironolactone (Aldactone), or other medications containing Triamterene.

In addition, the patient should also inform their pharmacist or doctor of any and all prescription or non-prescription medications they are currently taking, or will be taking during the time they are also prescribed Triamterene. All medications should be referred to, but the following, in particular, should be discussed with a medical professional prior to beginning treatment:

  • Benazepril (Lotensin)
  • Captopril (Capoten)
  • Enalapril (Vasotec)
  • Fosinopril (Monopril)
  • Lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril)
  • Moexipril (Univasc)
  • Perindopril, (Aceon)
  • Quinapril (Accupril)
  • Ramipril (Altace)
  • Trandolapril (Mavik)
  • Lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid)
  • Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Medications (NSAIDs) such as:
    • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
    • Naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn)
  • Medications for Diabetes or High Blood Pressure
  • Other Diuretics
  • Potassium Supplements

Based on the usage of these medications, a medical professional may need to alter or change the dosage of your drugs, or extra monitoring may be required in order to keep an eye on any possible side effects due to medicine interactions.

If the patient is expected to undergo any form of surgery, including dental surgery, during the time period they are taking Triamterene, the doctor or dentist performing this surgery should be made aware that the patient is currently taking the medication in order to prevent issues or complications related.

During the time period in which the patient is taking Triamterene, it is suggested that avoiding unnecessary or prolonged exposure to sunlight is recommended as a rare side effect of the medication can be severe sunburn due to sensitivity. This is due to the fact that this medication can cause skin sensitivity to sunlight. If exposure is unavoidable, wearing protective clothing, such as long sleeves and trousers, applying sunscreen and wearing sunglasses are recommended to prevent damage or issues. Due to this, it is also not recommended that tanning tools such as sun beds are used during this time.

If the patient is planning to become pregnant, their medical professional should be informed prior to the decision to take Triamterene. Should you become pregnant while taking the medication, a doctor should be informed immediately, as the use of Triamterene to treat edema when pregnant is not considered appropriate. Breastfeeding when taking this medication is not recommended, and actively discouraged due to possible harm to the infant as a result.

Storage:

Triamterene should be stored medicine in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. This medication should be kept away from excess heat and moisture (such as bathrooms and kitchens).

Triamterene is dispensed in a tight, light-resistant container and should be kept at a temperature of 25°C (77°F); with temperatures between 15° - 30°C (59° - 86°F) within the acceptable range for correct storing of this medication.

Unneeded or extra medications should be disposed of in the correct way to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them indivertibly, as this may cause harm. However, you should not flush this or any other drugs down the toilet. Rather, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medication take-back program. Talk to a pharmacist or a local garbage/recycling department to learn more about take-back programs in the local community.

All medication, including Triamterene, should be out of sight and reach of children as a best practice, as many containers, such as weekly pill minders and containers for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers, are not designed to be child-resistant. To protect young children from poisoning or other medication-related illness, always ensure safety caps are locked and immediately store the medication in a safe location after use.

Summary:

Triamterene is designed for use as a medication to prevent the body from absorbing too high a level of salt, also known as a water pill. This treatment helps to maintain the potassium levels in a patient’s body, preventing it from becoming too low.

Generally, Triamterene is used as an effective treatment for fluid retention (edema) as well as for patients with congestive heart failure, nephrotic syndrome and/or cirrhosis of the liver over a period of time, with pills taken after breakfast or after breakfast and after lunch each day per day of treatment.

Triamterene is also used as a medicine for the treatment of fluid retention caused by using steroids or from having too high a level aldosterone in your body, a hormone produced within the adrenal glands in order to help regulate the salt and water balance within the body.

Triamterene is a medicine that is taken at home, following prescription by a medical professional. Triamterene is often used in combination with other diuretics in order to treat high blood pressure, and common side effects may include dizziness as well as changes in urination.

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Last Reviewed:
December 23, 2017
Last Updated:
December 22, 2017
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