overactive bladder

Furosemide is a diuretic that is one of the most prescribed drugs in the world. At last count over 7 million Americans swallow this water pill every day to lower their blood pressure or help their kidneys shed excess fluid. It is just behind another diuretic, hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ), on the doctor’s hit parade of commonly prescribed medications. It is perceived as extremely safe, but furosemide (Lasix) side effects can be potentially serious if missed or ignored.

Furosemide is a “loop” diuretic, meaning that it affects a special part of the kidney called the loop of Henle to facilitate salt elimination from the body. This medication not only kicks sodium out of the body (considered a beneficial action), it also promotes removal of other key minerals such as magnesium, potassium and calcium (all undesired consequences). Many health professionals are aware of the potassium problem, but they may ignore the depletion of magnesium. This can have devastating consequences.

Furosemide (Lasix) Questions Received at People’s Pharmacy:

Q. My husband’s doctor is concerned about his blood pressure. It has been fine until three days ago when at the doctor’s office it was 140/80. (When we got home it was 125/75). The doctor doubled his dose of furosemide.

I frankly am afraid he is going to end up in the hospital! I would like to learn more about this drug. My husband fortunately works close to home; he sometimes urinates on himself because he can’t always make it to the bathroom in time. He does operate heavy equipment at times and the dizziness thing is scary too. Please tell us more about furosemide (Lasix) side effects.

Q. As part of the medications I take for high blood pressure, I take Lasix two times per day, 40 mg each.

I am concerned as I just read that Lasix can potentially cause kidney damage or gout when taken over a period of time. I am very concerned that I have never been told about these serious side effects from my doctor. Are they true?

Q. I take prescribed 20 mg Lasix twice a day. One doctor says to take potassium with it, but another doctor says no. I don’t know what to do.

Q. My wife (54 years old) started furosemide 20 mg twice a day for fluid retention. It has helped with that, but has caused hearing loss in both ears. She has been told to stop for two weeks and see her doctor for blood work afterwards.

Q. I have a very good friend who suffers from serious heart problems. He had a pacemaker implanted many years ago. That was replaced with a defibrillator pacemaker. He has been taking many medications for his heart problems, including furosemide (Lasix). He was diagnosed with diabetes about three years ago.

A few months ago, he was taken to the ER when he became very short of breath. They ran many tests and one doctor switched him from Lasix to torsemide (Demadex). Ever since this change, his blood sugar has been completely normal. Is diabetes one of furosemide side effects?

Furosemide (Lasix) Side Effects:

As you can see from the questions above, this diuretic is associated with a number of unexpected complications. Because it is a water pill (eliminates fluid from the body), it can cause numerous trips to the bathroom. As one reader reported above, it led to incontinence for her husband at work. Others complain that they have to get up numerous times a night to pee.

More serious is dizziness. The same wife who worried that her husband had “accidents” at work also mentioned that he handled heavy equipment. The dizziness brought on by Lasix is very troublesome for someone in such a situation.

We also worry about depletion of potassium and magnesium. These electrolytes are essential for muscle function. When they are depleted from the body, muscle cramps are not an uncommon complication. Irregular heart rhythms can also occur and this can be a life-threatening situation if not corrected.

Anyone on furosemide must have regular blood tests to make sure electrolytes don’t get out of whack. In some cases potassium and magnesium supplements are necessary, but they require medical supervision and close monitoring to make sure the levels are like Goldilocks and the porridge (not too hot or too cold…too much or too little).

Other concerns mentioned above include hearing loss, gout and diabetes. These furosemide (Lasix) side effects should not be discounted. Diuretics not infrequently raise blood sugar or trigger diabetes. By now most people realize that this can have devastating results including an increased risk for heart disease, dementia, strokes and blindness. Gout can be incredibly painful. It can be brought on by excess uric acid levels in the body, a direct result of diuretics like furosemide or hydrochlorothiazide.

Other Furosemide (Lasix) Side Effects to be Alert For:

  • Weakness, muscle cramps (linked to electrolyte depletion)
  • Dehydration
  • Irregular heart rhythms (contact an MD immediately!)
  • Dizziness, low blood pressure, especially when standing suddenly
  • Ringing in ears, hearing loss (contact an MD immediately)
  • Blood problems (contact a physician if bruising or anemia occurs)
  • Blurred vision
  • Skin rash, itching (potentially life threatening, contact an MD immediately!)
  • Elevated uric acid levels, gout
  • Elevated blood sugar, diabetes
  • Increases in cholesterol levels and triglycerides
  • Kidney damage

No one should ever stop furosemide suddenly without medical supervision. This drug is essential for certain heart patients, especially those with congestive heart failure. Keeping excess fluid under control is critical for such patients. But furosemide is a tricky drug and requires very close monitoring by an attentive health care provider.

Furosemide can also interact dangerously with dozens of other medications, so the pharmacist must check any other medicine that is taken to make sure there are no incompatibilities. Always ask your doctor and pharmacist to check for drug interactions with furosemide. Here is why it is so important:

“My husband took furosemide for many years. We now know from the cardiologist who is caring for my husband that he was taking too many drugs that were not beneficial for him including furosemide. He was like a zombie–just wanted to sit and do nothing.

“After this cardiologist took my husband off this drug, plus others, plus prescribing something else instead and reducing the amounts of other drugs, my husband miraculously became alive again. He is now 86 years old and has survived two life-threatening surgeries. He is now very active and building things like he used to that he loved to do. He does many tasks and does not want to sleep all day, eats well and does so many other things.

“I am hoping people who take this drug and many others that you have written about will take heed and ask their doctors to check their drugs out very carefully. When my husband had surgery, he wasn’t recovering well. I found out that he was taking drugs that he shouldn’t have been. His cardiologist immediately started checking out what I had found and was amazed that all those other Drs. were not checking his meds, dosage, etc.

“Once again Dr. Graedon and Mr. Graedon, thanks for such a wonderful column and all the information you write about alerting and showing us so many natural remedies to use instead of harmful drugs.” Sincerely, Mrs W.

Furosemide and Generic Drug Substitution Problems:

We have received a number of complaints that not all generic furosemide is created equal. We are especially worried about this problem for people with heart failure. If their medicine is not working as anticipated, it can lead to fluid accumulation and life-theatening complications.

We fear that the FDA has not been as vigilant about monitoring generic drugs as most health professionals think. Here are just a few stories for your consideration. If you suspect that your generic furosemide is not working as intended, let your physician and pharmacist know that this is a problem other people have encountered.

“I have mild congestive heart failure and real bad edema, with my left leg especially. I take 80 mg Lasix twice a day. The brand name works quite well. Some of the generic furosemide seems to work but it seems to have a wide range of effectiveness from manufacturer to manufacturer.

“The generic furosemide that my mail order pharmacy sends me seems to do little or nothing. I may as well be taking chalk tablets. On this stuff I retained so much water that I would gain about 15-20 lbs or more and have shortness of breath. My legs would swell up badly. I have to keep a Lasix prescription at the local pharmacy and pay for it out of my own pocket to avoid problems.”

“I take furosemide, 20 mg tablets, and for a long time took Mylan brand generic. Then the pharmacy switched me to brand XXX generic. I immediately began ‘drowning,’ and my weight jumped 5 lbs overnight. I fortunately had some Mylan brand still on hand, switched back, lost the water, and three days later tried the brand XXX again. Same result. I am on an assigned Medicare Part D Plan, and as a result the Mylan has to be special-ordered and approved for me to get it.

“These are both generic forms of the same drug, but even among generics there are big differences. A major concern is that while I recognized the problem and took immediate action (and then tested the problem out again), there are a lot of elderly people on furosemide, for instance, who would not understand this type of problem with the pill. They could end up seriously ill, with their doctors blaming them for ‘non-compliance’ problems: “Mrs. D is not taking her furosemide as directed,” when in fact it was the drug manufacturer at fault.”

“Before I retired as a pharmacist, the two generic drugs that I received the most complaints about were generic Lasix and generic Ritalin.” Mark

Share your own story about furosemide (Lasix) below. Has it worked well for you? Have you experienced any side effects? Have you had any problems with generic formulations? Others may benefit from your comments. If you are taking furosemide for hypertension, you may find our Guide to Blood Pressure treatment of some value. It offers a number of non-drug options to discuss with your physician.

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  1. Cynthia
    Herndon Virginia

    I have been taking florisimide forever it seems but recently it seems to have stopped working. I ran out of a few days and now I am loosing water weight more easily. After reading what you wrote I think I need to contact my doctors office tomorrow also because she never told me all these side effects especially raising blood sugar levels.

  2. Cindy

    My husband is 48 years old and has numerous health issues. He has gout, cirrohos of the liver (not spelled correctly),diabetes, heart issues (5 stents in place). He has been on lasix for about a year now. He takes 16 different medications right now.

    After reading this blog I’m concerned because he is on lasix and omeprozale. His legs are constantly swollen and now his stomach is swollen with a bad pain on the left side under the rib cage. Anyone have any suggestions on what to do?

  3. patcee c

    I have congestive heart failure and have been taking lasix for several years. I take two every other day and one every other day, but I don’t fully understand why. Lately the pills don’t make me go like they used to. I don’t know if your body gets used to them and they stop being as effective or not. I have some kind of chronic kidney problem that my doctor says is a stage 2 and mild. He said not to worry about it, but I do. I am also diabetic, but my A1Cs are always at 6.3 to 6.5, which the dr. says is fine.Today I noticed that there are two spots of yellow skin on my abdomen and it says online it could mean kidney disease. Should I be alarmed? I take potassium with the lasix but this is the first I’ve heard that magnesium could be low. That is never mentioned in my blood test results.

    • patcee c

      I forgot to say I have horrible leg cramps every night. I only have them in bed. When I am up walking around my legs are fine, in fact it is sometimes the only way to ease the pain of the cramps. My doctor just seems confused about what might be causing them and prescribed a muscle relaxant. I don’t take it because it makes the next day groggy and tiring. Is this from lasix?

      • Sandy
        South Carolina

        Probably, yes. I take 500 mgs of Magnesium every day to make sure I do not have leg cramps at night. As long as I take Magnesium I no longer have leg cramps.

  4. Nancy
    Salem Oregon

    My doctor prescribed furosemide to reduce swelling, just the opposite effect happened. At first I thought it was just not working yet. Soon I noticed that my feet and legs would swell so much that they hurt when touched even the slightest. I stopped for a few days and things would be better, so I thought I would try it again and yes I would start swelling all over again. Sometimes I wonder if our doctors even research any of the meds before they give them to you.

  5. Frank

    I have been on Lasix 40MG for approximately six weeks for edema, shortness of breath, and high blood pressure. Gradually, I have encountered cramps in my feet and left hand, mostly at night. The worst effect is very harsh left kidney pain where I’m unable to sleep at night. It starts to subside about 4:30 AM. I used to take Triamterene/HCTZ Capsules 37.5-25MG with little or no side effects. I almost went to the emergency room last night due to the intense kidney pain. I’m calling my cardiac MD this morning for advice. At the very least I’m stopping the Lasix.

  6. January G.

    I was looking at some of your posts on this site, and I believe this web site is really informative! Keep posting.

  7. StillTicking

    Oh, my, the diuretics! Truthfully, I don’t think any of them are good for our bodies, overall. Washing out our sodium, potassium, magnesium, along with other important vitamins and minerals and the potential for some severe side effects to our ears, eyes, kidneys and heaven knows what other organs suffer and cannot work to their full potential, due to the use of diuretics. No small wonder we don’t feel so great taking this stuff!

    Enter heart failure. I have it. Thus, I also have the dread Lasix script. My Rx drug plan only covers generics Ok There’s that issue. A big, financial one for many of us on medications for chronic, incurable conditions.

    I don’t yet qualify for Medicare, but apparently, it doesn’t much matter, as they push generics too. Why is the majority of the industrialized world so convinced that GENERICS ARE AS GOOD AS NAME BRANDS? Could it be greed?

    Lets face it, most strictly medical docs just aren’t open to and will not even listen to any ideas about alternative/integrative medicine, in conjunction with good traditional medicine.

    What I can share is that sometimes, the generic lasix works for me and sometimes it doesn’t. Even when taking pills from the very same bottle! Does anyone monitor, know or care about quality control, in generics? If so what is that monitoring method? Tell me it’s far better than the USDA monitoring programs currently in place!!!

    Bottom line, imho, is that we’re all in this plate of medical spaghetti together and if our docs are not listening to us, are ignoring our issues and are unwilling to help us, then what the heck are we paying them for? I don’t pay a mechanic to fix my car and then have him ignore what I tell him, when the car still isn’t working.

    Docs are good and docs are bad. Most are somewhere in between. Jaded docs are the worst! So, if you have the option, please at least get a 2nd opinion and/or switch docs, when and if your doc is dictating nonsense to you and not listening to you. Who needs it? I have better things to do with my time and my money, than enter a place of business, for a service, only to leave not having been listened to and not helped. Or worse, ignored!

    Get what you and/or your insurance are paying for. That means an attentive, plugged in, unharried doctor who is interested in your health, monitors it closely and KNOWS what prescriptions and supplements you are taking and HOW you are taking them and if you’re improving or not.

    We are so manipulated by a system, from docs to healthcare organizations and insurers, including Medicare, that it’s ridiculous! WE cannot take back our healthcare if we remain silent, take no action or just die, waiting for a good doc, who is patient-centered, more than he/she is profit and system-centered. We’re NOT numbers. We need not ever walk into our docs offices and leave, having only succeeded in “feeding the machine”, while having gotten nothing worthwhile to us, in return. Shop for docs just as you’d shop for anything else. The first store you go into may not be good for you, just because it’s 3 blocks from your home or place of work.

    Secondly, we MUST be an active participant in our health care. Ask questions, until you have easily understandable answers. And then, go a step further. Otherwise, you cannot possibly make good decisions for yourself.

    As some others have stated here, do not take your doctor’s word when it comes to Rx drugs, procedures or anything else, re side effects and other down sides. Research and/or have a friend or relative do it for you. Then, make your best decision, based on how you feel, in conjunction with what you’ve learned, along with a 2nd opinion if needed.

    This is OUR body and OUR health at stake and it is and should be OUR decision as to what we will put into it, take out of it, what procedures we’ll agree to and how long we’ll remain with any particular doc with whom we are not satisfied or comfortable.

    Lasix and it’s generic counterparts are just one of many meds which and can and sometimes does half kill us, before we realize what’s happening. Consider this: If medicine was an EXACT science, then why do so many docs have very different opinions about how to treat and with what? No; medicine is an ART, first and foremost and partly based on “science”. Science which is often skewed, depending upon who did the research an who paid for it and how UNconfounding the parameters were. Gets confusing and maddening at times. Important thing is to not get caught in the middle of the systems and stay there.

    We’re all different. Our bodies all respond differently to different medications and even differently to so-called naturals and supplements. Peddle softly my friends, but KEEP peddling. Advocate for your loved ones and friends in the medical arena, and advocate fiercely for YOURSELF! It’s the best we can do for ourselves. Let the madness ride and don’t give it any negative energy. Instead, give your energy to diligence and vigilance and don’t let the sun set, one more day, feeling like a spoke in just another medical system wheel.

    When all else fails, contact your State Insurance Commission (for insurance and coverage issues) and/or the Commission on Ageing/Elder services. Help is out there. Don’t be afraid to report doctors who are negligent in your care. Stand up and have your voice heard. If we all do this, just maybe, we can effect some small changes, here and there. Can’t hurt and at the end of the day, we can be proud of advocating and having our voices heard.

    Good wishes and good health to one and all!!!

    • Marie

      I had the same thought.
      But I have a very good Patient Centered Doctor.
      I am taking Lasix for the past 6 days but I dont know how long am I going to take it. The package indicates 30 pills..will it be renewed ? And My i surance covered it all. I did not pay for lasix. Am trying to read everything I can about lasix/furosemide.. thanks for bringing your thoughts here..it may wake up some people ..

  8. MJ

    I have been on brand name Lasix for over 30 years, managed effectively for bi lateral lymphedema.

    This past month (July 2016) it is no longer available through CVS or Rite Aid pharmacies as all have gone to generic. My experience over trying this as a substitute for the brand name, is that the generic does absolutely nothing to resolve swelling, and only causes allergic skin outbreaks.

    I have found nowhere an answer to how to get the brand name. I am furious as generic is not close to the same as brand name product. They are completely different in how my body reacts.

    Please help! Years ago my parents traveled frequently to Mexico where brand name Lasix was sold as an over the counter medication, requiring no prescription. The cost was much lower too than brand name product sold in the US as prescription.

    I am 65 and fear the future of managing my condition now that I cannot appeal to purchase brand name lasix and it is no longer available anywhere that I can find. This is a frightening prospect to face and as I age there is no one listening or understanding this problem.
    The drug companies seem to maintain silence on the subject and insist the generic is the same.
    It is well known that this is not true.

    Please advise where I can locate the brand name so that I do not suffer the consequences and negative side effects of generic substitutes. I have paid the high price for brand name and pleaded my case with insurance providers….but no one is listening.


    • Karen
      Atlanta, Ga

      Thank you, now I don’t feel like I am going insane from repeatedly telling my Doctors how to be Doctors and treat me. I’ve been living a nightmare for four months all because I questioned my Doctors practices and procedures for testing my blood. My platelets are supposedly too low to make it through a simple hysterectomy to remove Endometrial Cancer. After spending five days in the hospital while they gave me 2 bags of platelets, 1 bag of immunoglobulin, a bag of blood, and steroids.

      I checked myself out after they suggested the next move would be a complete blood transfusion and then a spleenectomy. I came home and after trying alternative medicine “Papaya Leaf tea” and then doing weeks of research, I have finally come to the conclusion, the Doctors should have tried taking me off the MEDs and then checking my blood, I believe its Drug induced Thrombocytopenia. Caused by the Lasix they put me on months ago.

      My insurance carrier doesn’t want to cover the cost of a second opinion, so I am going to Emory here in Atlanta and have their Doctors attempt to save my life. It will all be out of pocket. But Now I am thinking about sueing my Carrier for negligence. If I could charge them with attempted murder for dragging their heels and putting up smoke screens and insisting that they have Doctors who can treat me within their NETWORK, I would. It’s not that they don’t have Doctors, none of their Doctors Want to operate on me. They should have done their due diligence, and at least tried to find out the cause of the low platelets. I’m going to report them.

  9. Marcia

    I have retained a lot of fluid in my feet and legs since I’m not as active as before my back problems. I have 6 lasix left from a script that’s 6 years old. Would it be safe to take one to keep from having to go to the doc for a co-pay to get a new script? It’s 20 mgs…

    • Marcia

      excuse me the script is 4 years old not 6…

  10. suzanne

    Does anyone know if there is a way to “cycle” lower and higher doses of Lasix. My 95 year old Dad is taking it for CHF…but he also has kidney failure. When his doc dropped the Lasix level down to 20 MG 2x per day…after a time, he had fluid retention and trouble breathing…so we upped it back up to 40 MG 2x per day. It seems that this has been the pattern over the last few years. So, just wondering, it seems logical to continue this “cycling” of 40 – 80 mg of Lasix…to lessen the strain on the kidneys and prevent building up a tolerance to the Lasix?? Does anyone have experience with this?

  11. Laura

    Hello I am 50 year old female. I have been taking Furosemide for 3 1/2 weeks at the same time I got an right ear infection but both ears bothered me. I thought from taking my antibiotics and Predisone it caused many issues. It turns out it may be the Furosemide.

    Symptoms include my heart racing, weight gain, edema in my hands, calves and feet, lack of mental focus, shortness of breath, dizziness, watery right eye, burning in my ears, tongue, genital area. I also have ringing in my ears, cannot listen to loud conversations, hearing issues, plugging of the ears, tingling and numbness in hands and feet.Tingling in my mouth. I have been to the ENT and my ear infection is gone but still having the ear and other issues. ENT doctor said it could be bacteria or issue with potassium level and least likely caused by Furosemide. I let my primary care doctor know I stopped taking medication yesterday.

    I have originally been taken Triamterene for 25 years, other than low potassium, no problems. My Endocrinologist felt Triamterene causing high PTH level so suggested I stop and if needed switch to Lasix. Wow this Lasix medication is very scarey and I am shocked to read how it can ultimately kill you. I also went to the ER for shortness of breath, dizziness and nausea and my ear that has driving me nuts. They couldn’t find anything wrong with me. No one believes it is the Furosemide that is causing all my issues but my primary care doctor believes in me. Thank you for this forum. I hope it helps others.

  12. Pat

    VA requires generics be taken by my spouse, even though it has repeatedly been proven that he ends up in hospital because they have little to no impact. In addition to CHF and kidney issues he has liver issues. Generics appear to have a binder or filler that his liver and stomach can’t absorb and it just runs through him. When we beg VA to change his medications to name brand we are told no – they don’t do that – it would cost the VA too much money if they used name brand drugs. Why? Because over 1/2 of the veterans being provided services are unresponsive to generic drugs. Not but $30 per month for one patient but multiplied by 50% of those they provide drugs for – too much money. They would rather put him in the hospital for one week per month (w/o regard to impact on family and my job, our primary source of income) than pay $30 per month to keep him alive and out of the hospital. Insanity rules when government allowed to provide medical care.

  13. Kathleen

    I have CHF with an ejection fraction of 14% due to a virus which damaged my heart. Recent pacemaker/ defibrillator. Left side ventricular issues. Fluid retention was limited to around my heart. I take Furosemide 20mg/1 tab daily. Works like a charm. There are days when I will only urinate 2 or 3 times, so I usually skip the next day and start again the following day. Right back to normal. My BP has been normal all along. No weight gain or dizziness, but a potassium supplement is crucial to avoid muscle cramping. No complaints at all about this medication

  14. Kat
    NC, USA

    I had to take Lasik for all over edema with congestive heart failure. I took it as prescribed and it helped with the fluid. However, I started getting the worst muscle cramps I’ve ever had. And I mean just doing simple things like brushing my hair or reaching for something. The cramps were more awful at night and brought me to tears. I lost a lot of sleep. I told my cardiologist about this and he actually said to me, “I’ve been prescribing this med to hundreds of patients for years and no one has ever complained about this.” Made me feel like an idiot. But I know what I feel and I don’t care how many people have or don’t have the same side effects. My cardiologist also just casually said to buy some potassium and magnesium and that should help w/the cramps. Didn’t say how much to take per day or anything. Very careless if you ask me. Anyway, that’s been my experience. I’ll probably have to go to the hospital and get a Lasik IV because my stomach is really swollen right now. Good luck everyone.

    • Neese

      Hi Kat,

      The muscle cramps means that the Lasik has depleted your nutrients, such as Potassium. You should actually get your potassium levels checked and start taking the supplements as your Dr. suggested. When I had low potassium (from hydroclorothiazide), I was having the same issue and was rushed to the emergency room where they provided a potassium pill and I felt brand new after taking that. Good luck! :-)

    • Kathleen

      I cannot imagine any reputable cardiologist actually saying such a thing. Potassium deficiency is an extremely common side effect. The first time I received IV Lasix in the hospital, my potassium was so depleted that my entire body cramped up and I broke my wrist right there in the hospital bed from the spasticity. I got my hand caught in the bed rails. They gave me potassium immediately. Cramping ceased immediately. Personally, I would not return to that cardiologist

    • Craig
      Las Vegas, NV

      The potassium and magnesium should help. Also look for foods with potassium. Orange Juice, etc. I just started on this stuff and got a couple cramps. Online says to keep a balance and let the med do its work. My doctor prescribed a potassium supplement with my furosemide. He suggested I buy an over-the-counter magnesium supplement. That one is 200.

  15. George

    Have been on Furosemide at 40 mg/day four years for congestive heart failure potential problem. About two years ago during Florida Summer heat and working outside I stopped taking it for urination convenience without doctors approval, and when cool weather came I stopped sweating—-ended up with severe congestive heart failure to ER. Now OK and take it daily without stopping. My new concern is potential kidney damage but the congestive heart problem is still there, thus I continue taking Furosemide.
    Be careful in stopping the drug- congestive heart is no picnic.

  16. Lynn
    Raleigh North Carolina

    My doctor took me off valsartan with hctz last year after I lost about 50 lbs because my blood pressure had dropped too low. I just took the kind without hctz and a while later when my blood pressure began to creep up again, she added furosemide. I’ve been on it for about 5 or 6 months now and having problems with my vision. I had a yearly check up in November and my prescription had changed ( I’d had cataract surgery on both eyes last year). Two months after my yearly eye exam I went back to my eye doctor because my vision seemed worse. It was. I had blurry vision but was able to use reading glasses. I went to the highest level I could find but eventually even reading glasses did not help. My eye doctor sent me to a retina specialist who found that my eyes are healthy. Yet today, six weeks later my optometrist could not correct my vision well enough to read most of the chart. According to her I have lost 3 lines on the chart ( which I’d been able to read in the past). She thinks it’s a waste of money to write a new prescription for glasses which will probably change in 2 months. As a last resort she’ll send me to a neurologist to find out what’s wrong. She thinks it could be the furosemide. Is that possible? I haven’t been able to find out much on my own. Thanks for any help/insight you can provide!

  17. Barbara
    Los Angeles

    About 4 years ago I was on Hydrochlorothiazide and it did not seem to work well alone so my doctor added the generic version of Lasix. When the Hydrochlorithiazide and the generic Lasix were taken together, they seemed to work best. My doctor told me to stop the Hydrochlorithiazide and just take the generic Lasix so I did. He also added Omprazole to my medications and kept prescribing the generic version of Zantac each time I filled my prescriptions. It seemed that my feet and ankles started to mildly swell witht he addition of Omeprazole so I stopped taking it and only took the generic Zantac. Then I went into the hospital to have my thyroid removed because of thyroid cancer and told them what medication I was taking. The nurses there had me taking both the Omeprazole and the generic Zantac even though I told them I was not taking both but they were refilled everytime I went to the pharmacist because that is what my doctor ordered.

    When the doctor on my case came in I discussed it with him and he told me to stop taking the generic Zantac and only take the Omeprazole because it was a better medication. I did and things went from bad to worse. The next time I was in to see my primary care doctor, I told him of the itching and the breakouts on my legs, shins, and feet and told him I think I am allergic to the Omeprazole. 3 doctors later and after running out of the Omeprazole, the swelling on my legs and over the rest of my body went way down. Process of elimination. No Omeprazole, no swelling. Never took it again. When I told my new primary care doctor, she ask me how I knew it was an allergy to the Omeprazole? I told her, process of elimination. No Omeprazole, no swelling, that is how I know.

    Now a year later I am still having cramping in my calves and breakouts on my lower legs/shins and my new primary care doctor will not take me off the generic lasix or test me for allergies to any of the medications I am on. I no longer know what to do. I went to a dermatologist for something else and showed him my legs but he did not know what to do as he said he never saw anything like that before. Can you offer any suggestions of where I should go or what I should be doing.

    By the way I am also on Simvastatin (which does cause cramping), Levothyroxine, Methocarbamol (for the cramping), Gabapentin (for the pain from the cramping and other nerve pain), Losartan Potassium, and Calcium +D. I was on one generic Lasix to start with, then they added a second one at night, then on in the afternoon, and because the swelling has not gone down totally they added a 4th. They just keep adding and do not listen to possible allergic reaction. Each generic Lasix is 40mg.

  18. Tommy
    Greensboro, NC

    Years ago, I was employed by the creator of Lasix. When generics first came out there were numerous failures. Our medical department explained the main reason for generic failures. Furosemide is chemically easy to duplicate. The problem was getting it buffered property so that it is readily and consistently absorbed. Plus generics only needed to be tested to plus or minus 20 % absorption in healthy individuals. Approved brand A could be a plus 20%. Then patient gets switched at the pharmacy to brand B, a minus 2O%. This could cause treatment failures.
    Finally, to control edema, it was better to increase the strength of the once a day dose, rather than go twice or three times a day. If 40mg didn’t control the edema, then go 80mg, etc. For BP control, a BID dose was recommended.

  19. Sharon
    Portland, OR

    My sister (age 87) and her daughter (age 63) were recently told by their doctors (each had different doctors) to stop taking their daily dose of 12.5 mg of Hydrochlorothiazide for blood pressure because it can cause memory loss, balance problems and loss of mental alertness in older people. I, too, take 12.5 mg of HCTZ and have e-mailed my own doc about this but, so far, have not received his response. Has anyone else any info regarding HCTZ?

    • Terry Graedon

      Hydrochlorothiazide can make potassium drop too low, which in turn could cause confusion. Older people might be especially susceptible. On the other hand, for those who tolerate it, HCTZ is a perfectly reasonable treatment for high blood pressure.

  20. Dee
    Atlanta, GA

    My doctor added HCTZ to my Lisinopril when my blood pressure got a little bit high. After taking it for about a week, I suffered with nausea, dizziness and dehydration. My doctor told me to go to the hospital for hydration. My electrolytes were way low (especially sodium). I ended up in the hospital for almost a week, and even then they couldn’t get my sodium back up. It was a scary experience and the EMTs said I was close to convulsions when I got to the hospital. My doctor told me he thinks I’m allergic to diuretics, something he had never seen before. So if you have bad symptoms, don’t wait long to get medical help. There are other things that can help blood pressure with fewer side effects.

  21. jan

    Fyi.. generic lasix (furosemide) seemed to cause forgetfulness.
    Switched to brand and it went away.

    Another issue: Does anyone know if blood in urine can be caused by Lasix?

    Would appreciate any information! Thanks.

  22. HAROLD

    Been on furosemide 40 mg 3 times about 6 weeks and because it transformed me into a zombie, my MD dropped the dose t0 20 mg 3 times a week. Within another month my legs were so weak, I couldn’t walk at all. Waiting to hear from my cardiologist for advice.

  23. Richie S.
    Lebanon tn.

    I have been on furosemide close to 2 years. I take 160 mg a day to get excess water from my body and keep the swelling down in my legs. I manage to keep the swelling reasonably under controlA little swelling in late afternoon but down over night. I also have a kidney problem which is most likely the main reason for the high dose of furosemide. My legs are doing better and better each day, specially if I keep moving. Oh – I am 76 years old. Now I am having wetting problems and diapered 24/7. Next week I’m seeing a urologist docter but I think I prefer the diapers then more pills and tests. I feel great and can do most things except walk great distance. I have a heart – lung COPD) Kidney and anemia doctors and for the most part they agree with me

  24. Chuck

    I take Furosemide 40mg 3x daily and STILL have swollen legs, but more in the left leg. I’ve been on this for almost 4 years, I sleep with my feet elevated, and when I first wake for the day, that’s the ONLY time my lower legs and feet look and feel normal. I need to check on a different diuretic since it’s obviously not doing it’s job, except it’s robbing my body of potassium and everything else I take since I pee it all right back out of my body before it has a chance to do their jobs.

    I just and FINALLY got my Dr’s to prescribe me a potassium supplement after yet another ER visit and found to be hypokalemic yet again. MANY of the symptoms I’ve mentioned to my Dr. links directly back to a lack of potassium, so I advise anybody taking ANY diuretic, to have your blood checked OFTEN, not every 6 months like MY Dr. wants to do and thinks is fine. Do I need another Dr? You bet! But I live in a rural area and there just aren’t many choices, and on a fixed income I can’t afford to move closer to a town/city with more Dr’s to choose from.

    Educate yourself as much as possible and you may have to confront your Dr once in a while, because in spite of all the “degrees and diplomas” on the walls, they don’t know it all and sometimes just treat you like you’re part of an assembly line. Also, get to know your pharmacist, since they know more about meds than your Dr does. Luckily I’ve got a great couple of pharmacists, and I rely on them a lot. Take advantage of their knowledge, and most of the time they won’t mind sharing it with you at all. It could make a huge difference. They’ve helped me several times questioning my Dr about meds, and I was put on something else, or the existing prescription changed because it was too little or too much….like the potassium issue. On the paperwork from the hospital it CLEARLY states that any patient on furosemide is required to be on a potassium supplement. Now that I am, and still eating a healthy diet, I feel better than I have in 4 years. I feel alive again, instead of just existing.

  25. MIchael
    South Florida

    Lasix has been a God-send for me. I just worry about my fellow heart-failure patients who don’t understand the importance of being tough on themselves about a low sodium diet, in ADDITION to taking their Lasix as prescribed. The Lasix is not a “remedy” that you take so you can still have Chinese food every Sunday night. It must work in conjunction with your careful diet if it’s going to help you. Unfortunately, heart-failure is a progressive illness.

    However, if you’re diligent about your diet, and consistent with your dosage of Lasix, the progression of heart-failure CAN be slowed. I’m the proof. Get a great low-sodium cookbook and take care of yourself! The happiest benefit to come from my illness is that I’ve become a really great cook, and the kitchen has become my refuge! Cooking makes me happy, happy makes me healthy. I send best regards and good health to all who may read this. :)

  26. Shuger
    Kalkaska, MI

    I was on Lasix for years due to swelling legs…..I was allergic to the prilasec and no one seems to be aware of this. After establishing that I did not have heart problems and off the prilasec a few years, I went off the Lasix. The hair loss I was experiencing has stopped and my thoughts are a lot more clear. They (Dr.s) wanted me on anxiety drugs ect…..I feel so much better. I just can’t believe the difference. Also the swelling in my legs has gone down to about half of what they were On the drug.

    • Barbara
      Los Angeles

      Shuger, when you state prilasec, do you mean prilosec (Omeprazole)? If this is what you were referring to, I just want to let you know that Prilosec/Omeprazole can cause severe swelling in the legs, shins, and feet. I had a swelling so severe especially in the areas mentioned that I now have lymphedema and chronic venous statis from it. My doctors would not listen to me for 3 years and last fall I found out that it was an allergy for sure when I ran out of the medication and could not get in to the pharmacy for 3 weeks to get my prescription refilled. The swelling went down dramatically although not totally (because I feel I am still allergic to other medications I am on but still trying to figure out which ones so I know for sure).

      • Heabette

        After reading others comments, I feel I have confirmation about my concerns about the use of Lasix (and other drugs). NOW begins a new adventure in my health care (in my old age ) to weed out the chaff. My experiences with medication is similar to the other commentators.

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