Chlorothiazide is used alone or in combination with other medications to treat high blood pressure. Chlorothiazide is used to treat edema (fluid retention; excess fluid held in body tissues) caused by various medical problems, including heart, kidney, and liver disease and to treat edema caused by using certain medications including estrogen and corticosteroids. Chlorothiazide is in a class of medications called diuretics ('water pills'). It works by causing the kidneys to get rid of unneeded water and salt from the body into the urine.
High blood pressure is a common condition, and when not treated it can cause damage to the brain, heart, blood vessels, kidneys, and other parts of the body. Damage to these organs may cause heart disease, a heart attack, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, loss of vision, and other problems. In addition to taking medication, making lifestyle changes will also help to control your blood pressure. These changes include eating a diet that is low in fat and salt, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising at least 30 minutes most days, not smoking, and using alcohol in moderation.
Chlorothiazide comes as a tablet and suspension (liquid) to take by mouth. It usually is taken once or twice a day. When used to treat hypertension, take chlorothiazide around the same time(s) every day. When used to treat edema, chlorothiazide may be taken daily or only on certain days of the week. Take this medication with meals or a snack. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take chlorothiazide exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Chlorothizide controls high blood pressure and edema but does not cure these conditions. Continue to take chlorothiazide even if you feel well. Do not stop taking chlorothiazide without talking to your doctor.
Chlorothiazide may also be used to treat patients with diabetes insipidus and certain electrolyte disturbances and to prevent kidney stones in patients with high levels of calcium in their blood. Talk to your doctor about the possible risks of using this medicine for your condition.
This medicine is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Before taking chlorothiazide,
If your doctor prescribes a low-salt or low-sodium diet, or to eat or drink increased amounts of potassium-rich foods (e.g., bananas, prunes, raisins, and orange juice) in your diet, follow these instructions carefully.
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.
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 these symptoms, call your doctor immediately or seek emergency medical treatment:
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 ( Web Site) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
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). Do not let the oral suspension freeze.
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website ( Web Site) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. Web Site
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at Web Site. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can't be awakened, immediately call 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.
Before having any laboratory test, tell your doctor and the laboratory personnel that you are taking chlorothiazide.
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.
¶ This branded product is no longer on the market. Generic alternatives may be available.