Triamterene

Triamterene treats fluid retention. Avoid salt substitutes containing potassium. Take triamterene after meals.

Triamterene Overview

Reviewed: July 18, 2013
Updated: 

Triamterene is a prescription medication used to treat fluid retention caused by congestive heart failure and other conditions. Triamterene belongs to a group of drugs called diuretics ("water pills"). Specifically, it is a "potassium-sparing" diuretic which means that it works by helping the body get rid of excess fluid by increasing the amount of salt and water the kidneys remove from the blood, while still keeping potassium in the body.

Triamterene comes in capsule form and is taken twice daily, after meals.

Common side effects of triamterene include vomiting and headache.

This medication can cause dizziness. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how it affects you.

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Triamterene Cautionary Labels

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Uses of Triamterene

Triamterene is a prescription medication used to treat fluid retention caused by congestive heart failure and other conditions.

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Triamterene Brand Names

Triamterene may be found in some form under the following brand names:

Triamterene Drug Class

Triamterene is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Triamterene

Serious side effects have been reported with triamterene. See “Drug Precautions” section.

Common side effects of triamterene include:

  • vomiting
  • headache
  • dizziness

This is not a complete list of triamterene side effects. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Triamterene Interactions

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Especially tell your doctor if you take:

  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), indomethacin (Indocin)
  • medications for high blood pressure
  • other diuretics
  • preanesthetic and anesthetic agents
  • skeletal muscle relaxants
  • angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors such as enalapril (Vasotec) and lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril)
  • potassium-containing medications (such as parenteral penicillin G potassium)
  • potassium supplements
  • medications for diabetes such as chlorpropamide (Diabinese)
  • lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid)

This is not a complete list of triamterene drug interactions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Triamterene Precautions

Serious side effects have been reported with triamterene including:

  • Electrolyte imbalances: Triamterene can dangerously alter your electrolyte levels. Electrolytes are important for the body to maintain normal functioning. Tell your doctor if you have a history of kidney disease.
  • Hyperkalemia: Triamterene can raise your body's potassium to harmful levels, possibly causing the heart to stop beating. Tell your doctor if you have kidney disease or diabetes.
  • Renal stones: Treatment with triamterene can cause kidney stones.
  • Hypersensitivity reaction: An allergic reaction to triamterene can occur. Call your doctor if you have one or more of the following symptoms of a hypersensitivity reaction:
    • rash or hives
    • difficulty breathing or swallowing
    • hoarseness
    • swelling
  • Jaundice and/or liver enzyme abnormalities. Treatment with triamterene can cause jaundice and/or liver enzyme abnormalities.
  • Elevation in BUN and creatinine (labs look at kidney status). Treatment with triamterene can cause changes in your kidney function.
  • Hyperuricemia: Triamterene can increase your levels of uric acid, leading to gout. Symptoms of gout include:
    • pain
    • swelling
    • discolored, peeling, or itchy skin
  • Metabolic acidosis
  • Low platelet count (thrombocytopenia). Tell your doctor right away if you have any unusual bleeding, such as nosebleeds, or bruising under your skin.
  • Low red blood cell count (anemia). Tell your doctor if you have any of these symptoms of anemia during treatment with triamterene:
    • feeling weak, tired, or you get tired easily
    • you look pale
    • you feel short of breath

Triamterene can cause dizziness. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how it affects you.

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.

Triamterene may raise blood glucose levels. For adult onset diabetes, dosage adjustments of hypoglycemic agents may be necessary during and/or after therapy.

Do not take triamterene if you:

  • are allergic to triamterene or to any of its ingredients
  • have a history of renal stones
  • are not passing urine
  • have severe or progressive kidney disease or dysfunction
  • have severe hepatic disease
  • have elevated serum potassium
  • are taking potassium-sparing agents, such as spironolactone, amiloride hydrochloride, or other formulations containing triamterene.

Triamterene Food Interactions

Medications can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of triamterene, salt substitutes containing potassium should be avoided.

 

Inform MD

Before taking triamterene, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions. Especially tell your doctor if you:

  • are allergic to triamterene or any other medications
  • are taking amiloride (Midamor), spironolactone (Aldactone), or other medications containing triamterene
  • have or have ever had diabetes, gout, kidney stones, or heart, kidney, or liver disease.
  • 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.
  • are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking triamterene.

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Triamterene and Pregnancy

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.

Triamterene falls into category C. This medication may be given to a pregnant woman if her healthcare provider believes that its benefits to the pregnant woman outweigh any possible risks to her unborn baby.

It is not known if triamterene will harm your unborn baby.

Triamterene and Lactation

Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.

It may be excreted in your breast milk and may harm your nursing child. You should not breastfeed if you are taking triamterene.

Triamterene Usage

Take triamterene exactly as prescribed.

This medication comes in capsule form and is taken twice daily, after meals.

If you miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the regular time. Do not take two doses of triamterene at the same time.

Triamterene Dosage

Take triamterene exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully.

Your doctor will prescribe the appropriate dosage depending on your condition and response to the medication.

When used alone, the usual starting dose of triamterene is 100 mg twice daily, after meals. 

The total daily dosage should not exceed 300 mg.

Triamterene Overdose

If you take too much triamterene, call your healthcare provider or local Poison Control Center, or seek emergency medical attention right away.

 

Forms of Medication

Triamterene/hydrochlorothiazide is available in tablets containing 37.5 mg triamterene/25 mg hydrochlorothiazide and 75 mg triamterene/50 mg hydrochlorothiazide.

Triamterene/hydrochlorothiazide is available in capsules containing 37.5 mg triamterene/25 mg hydrochlorothiazide and 50 mg triamterene/25 mg hydrochlorothiazide.

Active ingredients: triamterene and hydrochlorothiazide

Inactive ingredients: vary by manufacturer and dosage form

Other Requirements

  • Store triamterene at at 25°C (77°F).
  • Keep this and all medicines out of the reach of children.

Triamterene FDA Warning

Warnings

Abnormal elevation of serum potassium levels (greater than or equal to 5.5 mEq/liter) can occur with all potassium-sparing agents, including triamterene. Hyperkalemia is more likely to occur in patients with renal impairment and diabetes (even without evidence of renal impairment), and in the elderly or severely ill. Since uncorrected hyperkalemia may be fatal, serum potassium levels must be monitored at frequent intervals especially in patients receiving triamterene, when dosages are changed or with any illness that may influence renal function.