There are several common side effects of hydrochlorothiazide, a type of drug also called a thiazide diuretic, or water pill. These side effects include blurred vision, dizziness and lightheadedness. In addition, other common hydrochlorothiazide side effects are constipation, diarrhea and nausea. All medications come with potential side effects, some mild and some severe. These common hydrochlorothiazide side effects are generally considered non-serious, but they can persist or get worse over time.
Severe hydrochlorothiazide side effects can and do occur, though they are less common. An allergic reaction is an example of a serious side effect and requires immediate medical attention. Signs of an allergic reaction include hives, breathing or swallowing difficulties and swelling of the face or throat. Other severe hydrochlorothiazide side effects that a patient might experience include muscle pain, skin rash and weakness.
In some instances, hydrochlorothiazide can also have an effect on or lead to other medical conditions such as gout, heart rhythm disorders and kidney disease. This can be due to the drug causing increased or decreased levels of substances in the body associated with these medical conditions. For example, hydrochlorothiazide can cause increased blood uric acid levels, which can then lead to gout.
Not only can hydrochlorothiazide affect medical conditions, but it can also interfere with medications as well. Digoxin, lithium and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are just some of the drugs that might interfere with hydrochlorothiazide. For example, one of the ailments that hydrochlorothiazide is used to treat is high blood pressure. The use of NSAIDs in conjunction with hydrochlorothiazide might reduce the latter drug’s effects on the medical condition.
In addition to high blood pressure, hydrochlorothiazide is also used to treat other medical conditions, one of them being fluid retention. In combating fluid retention, the drug enables the body to get rid of extra salt and water. This causes the patient to urinate frequently. Dehydration can occur as a result of frequent urination. A patient should seek a doctor if he or she suffers serious side effects associated with dehydration, such as dizziness, dry mouth and nausea.
Since hydrochlorothiazide causes frequent urination, it is advised that the medication be taken in the morning or afternoon to avoid sleep disturbances during the night. The medication comes in both tablet and liquid form and is taken by mouth. The exact dosage prescribed depends on the patient’s condition, although it is usually one or two doses a day.