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Side Effects of Hydrochlorothiazide

Side Effects of Hydrochlorothiazide

Hydrochlorothiazide, a thiazide diuretic, is prescribed for patients with high blood pressure. Stomach upset, headache, frequent urination, electrolyte imbalance, and dizziness are some of the most common side effects of this medication. The following HealthHearty article tells you more about its side effects.
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Did You Know?
There is no evidence to assert the safety of hydrochlorothiazide during pregnancy.
Hydrochlorothiazide displays diuretic properties, and hence, it is recommended to control high blood pressure and alleviate edema. The medication helps flush out excess fluid, in turn reducing blood pressure and water retention. Also referred to as a water pill, this medication can cause quite a few side effects, some of which can be quite bothersome.
☉ Frequent Urination
Frequent trips to the toilet is a given for patients put on this medication. This happens because hydrochlorothiazide is a water pill, so its intake increases the urinary rate. Once the body adjusts to the dosage within a few weeks, the flow of urine may soon return to normal.
☉ Electrolyte Imbalance
The increased urine output can disturb the electrolyte balance of the body, which can lead to overall weakness. So, when this medication is taken regularly, a dip in potassium or sodium levels is noticed.
☉ Dizziness
A person taking hydrochlorothiazide may feel dizzy in the initial days of treatment. So, when put on this medication, avoid standing up too fast, as it can make you feel dizzy, and you are likely to lose your balance.
☉ Stomach Issues
This medication can irritate the lining of your stomach and intestine. This can lead to abdominal discomfort and cause stomach upset that manifests in the form of heartburn. Thus, digestion problems may occur during treatment.
☉ Headache
This is one of the most common side effects experienced. Depending upon the severity of headache, the pain may occur on one or both sides of your head.
The aforementioned side effects do not last long and go away once the body gets accustomed to the drug. However, in case these side effects continue to bother you, it may be necessary to take an alternative drug after consulting a well-qualified doctor.
☉ Serious but Infrequent Side Effects
As the medication works by increasing the urinary rate to control blood pressure, there is a possibility that this may lead to abnormally high amount of fluid loss, which may lead to dehydration. The symptoms that may occur are as follows:
  • Muscle cramps
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Excessively dry mouth
  • Poor urine output

» Allergic Reaction
An allergic reaction to hydrochlorothiazide can vary from mild to serious depending on how sensitive you are to the medication. A mild to moderate reaction may appear as a localized rash. However, a severe allergic reaction can lead to breathing problems followed by facial swelling. In quite a few cases, a severe allergic reaction is sudden and occurs immediately after taking the dose, whereas a mild allergic reaction begins after a few hours or a couple of weeks, after taking the dose.
☉ Less Common Side Effects
» High Blood Sugar
Thiazide-type diuretics like hydrochlorothiazide can also elevate blood sugar. So, diabetic patients who already face issues controlling blood sugar, need to talk to a doctor about their condition and determine whether it would be appropriate to take this medication. The rise in blood sugar levels can cause drowsiness, confusion, and excessive thirst.
» Diarrhea
Diarrhea is a relatively common complaint among people taking this medication. Loose bowel movement indicates issues with the digestive tract, particularly the large intestine. The diuretic effect of this medication is responsible for stimulating bowel movement, which often results in passage of watery stools.
» Loss of Appetite
Decreased or loss of appetite can be yet another side effect of this thiazide diuretic. This may possibly be due to nausea, which is common among patients taking this medication.
» Sexual Dysfunction
Clinical studies indicate that people taking hydrochlorothiazide may suffer from inhibited sexual desire and impotence. This medication may cause erectile dysfunction (ED) in men.
☉ Rare Side Effects
» Interstitial nephritis
» Hepatitis
» Kidney diseases
» Elevated uric acid levels
» Interstitial pneumonitis
» Blurred vision
» Abnormally high blood calcium levels
» Reduced WBC count
» Low blood magnesium
» Hemolytic anemia
As hydrochlorothiazide can act as a stomach irritant, avoid it if you are suffering from ulceration in the tissues of the stomach and intestine. People who are on antidepressants should also not take this medication. Also, those with heart ailments or suffering from kidney or liver disorders need to first consult a doctor before taking this medication. Chronic conditions like high cholesterol, diabetes, gout, and asthma may worsen with high doses. So in such circumstances, lowering the dose (i.e., dosage adjustment) is necessary to keep these medical conditions under control.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this HealthHearty article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical professional.