Furosemide (Page 2 of 4)

Information for Patients

Patients receiving furosemide should be advised that they may experience symptoms from excessive fluid and/or electrolyte losses. The postural hypotension that sometimes occurs can usually be managed by getting up slowly. Potassium supplements and/or dietary measures may be needed to control or avoid hypokalemia.

Patients with diabetes mellitus should be told that furosemide may increase blood glucose levels and thereby affect urine glucose tests. The skin of some patients may be more sensitive to the effects of sunlight while taking furosemide.

Hypertensive patients should avoid medications that may increase blood pressure, including over-the-counter products for appetite suppression and cold symptoms.

Laboratory Tests

Serum electrolytes (particularly potassium), CO 2 , creatinine and BUN should be determined frequently during the first few months of furosemide therapy and periodically thereafter. Serum and urine electrolyte determinations are particularly important when the patient is vomiting profusely or receiving parenteral fluids. Abnormalities should be corrected or the drug temporarily withdrawn. Other medications may also influence serum electrolytes.

Reversible elevations of BUN may occur and are associated with dehydration, which should be avoided, particularly in patients with renal insufficiency.

Urine and blood glucose should be checked periodically in diabetics receiving furosemide, even in those suspected of latent diabetes.

Furosemide may lower serum levels of calcium (rarely cases of tetany have been reported) and magnesium. Accordingly, serum levels of these electrolytes should be determined periodically.

In premature infants furosemide may precipitate nephrocalcinosis/nephrolithiasis, therefore renal function must be monitored and renal ultrasonography performed. (See PRECAUTIONS: Pediatric Use)

Drug Interactions

Furosemide may increase the ototoxic potential of aminoglycoside antibiotics, especially in the presence of impaired renal function. Except in life-threatening situations, avoid this combination.

Furosemide should not be used concomitantly with ethacrynic acid because of the possibility of ototoxicity. Patients receiving high doses of salicylates concomitantly with furosemide, as in rheumatic disease, may experience salicylate toxicity at lower doses because of competitive renal excretory sites.

There is a risk of ototoxic effects if cisplatin and furosemide are given concomitantly. In addition, nephrotoxicity of nephrotoxic drugs such as cisplatin may be enhanced if furosemide is not given in lower doses and with positive fluid balance when used to achieve forced diuresis during cisplatin treatment.

Furosemide has a tendency to antagonize the skeletal muscle relaxing effect of tubocurarine and may potentiate the action of succinylcholine.

Lithium generally should not be given with diuretics because they reduce lithium’s renal clearance and add a high risk of lithium toxicity.

Furosemide combined with angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin II receptor blockers may lead to severe hypotension and deterioration in renal function, including renal failure. An interruption or reduction in the dosage of furosemide, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, or angiotensin receptor blockers may be necessary.

Potentiation occurs with ganglionic or peripheral adrenergic blocking drugs.

Furosemide may decrease arterial responsiveness to norepinephrine. However, norepinephrine may still be used effectively.

Simultaneous administration of sucralfate and furosemide tablets may reduce the natriuretic and antihypertensive effects of furosemide. Patients receiving both drugs should be observed closely to determine if the desired diuretic and/or antihypertensive effect of furosemide is achieved. The intake of furosemide and sucralfate should be separated by at least 2 hours.

In isolated cases, intravenous administration of furosemide within 24 hours of taking chloral hydrate may lead to flushing, sweating attacks, restlessness, nausea, increase in blood pressure, and tachycardia. Use of furosemide concomitantly with chloral hydrate is therefore not recommended.

Phenytoin interferes directly with renal action of furosemide. There is evidence that treatment with phenytoin leads to decrease intestinal absorption of furosemide, and consequently to lower peak serum furosemide concentrations.

Methotrexate and other drugs that, like furosemide, undergo significant renal tubular secretion may reduce the effect of furosemide. Conversely, furosemide may decrease renal elimination of other drugs that undergo tubular secretion. High-dose treatment of both furosemide and these other drugs may result in elevated serum levels of these drugs and may potentiate their toxicity as well as the toxicity of furosemide.

Furosemide can increase the risk of cephalosporin-induced nephrotoxicity even in the setting of minor or transient renal impairment.

Concomitant use of cyclosporine and furosemide is associated with increased risk of gouty arthritis secondary to furosemide-induced hyperurecemia and cyclosporine impairment of renal urate excretion.

High doses (> 80 mg) of furosemide may inhibit the binding of thyroid hormones to carrier proteins and result in transient increase in free thyroid hormones, followed by an overall decrease in total thyroid hormone levels.

One study in six subjects demonstrated that the combination of furosemide and acetylsalicylic acid temporarily reduced creatinine clearance in patients with chronic renal insufficiency. There are case reports of patients who developed increased BUN, serum creatinine and serum potassium levels, and weight gain when furosemide was used in conjunction with NSAIDs.

Literature reports indicate that coadministration of indomethacin may reduce the natriuretic and antihypertensive effects of furosemide in some patients by inhibiting prostaglandin synthesis. Indomethacin may also affect plasma renin levels, aldosterone excretion, and renin profile evaluation. Patients receiving both indomethacin and furosemide should be observed closely to determine if the desired diuretic and/or antihypertensive effect of furosemide is achieved.

Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility

Furosemide was tested for carcinogenicity by oral administration in one strain of mice and one strain of rats. A small but significantly increased incidence of mammary gland carcinomas occurred in female mice at a dose 17.5 times the maximum human dose of 600 mg. There were marginal increases in uncommon tumors in male rats at a dose of 15 mg/kg (slightly greater than the maximum human dose) but not at 30 mg/kg.

Furosemide was devoid of mutagenic activity in various strains of Salmonella typhimurium when tested in the presence or absence of an in vitro metabolic activation system, and questionably positive for gene mutation in mouse lymphoma cells in the presence of rat liver S9 at the highest dose tested. Furosemide did not induce sister chromatid exchange in human cells in vitro , but other studies on chromosomal aberrations in human cells in vitro gave conflicting results. In Chinese hamster cells it induced chromosomal damage but was questionably positive for sister chromatid exchange. Studies on the induction by furosemide of chromosomal aberrations in mice were inconclusive. The urine of rats treated with this drug did not induce gene conversion in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

Furosemide produced no impairment of fertility in male or female rats at 100 mg/kg/day (the maximum effective diuretic dose in the rat and 8 times the maximal human dose of 600 mg/day).

Pregnancy

Furosemide has been shown to cause unexplained maternal deaths and abortions in rabbits at 2, 4 and 8 times the maximal recommended human dose. There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Furosemide should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

Treatment during pregnancy requires monitoring of fetal growth because of the potential for higher birth weights.

The effects of furosemide on embryonic and fetal development and on pregnant dams were studied in mice, rats and rabbits.

Furosemide caused unexplained maternal deaths and abortions in the rabbit at the lowest dose of 25 mg/kg (two times the maximal recommended human dose of 600 mg/day). In another study, a dose of 50 mg/kg (four times the maximal recommended human dose of 600 mg/day) also caused maternal deaths and abortions when administered to rabbits between Days 12 and 17 of gestation. In a third study, none of the pregnant rabbits survived a dose of 100 mg/kg. Data from the above studies indicate fetal lethality that can precede maternal deaths.

The results of the mouse study and one of the three rabbit studies also showed an increased incidence and severity of hydronephrosis (distention of the renal pelvis and, in some cases, of the ureters) in fetuses derived from the treated dams as compared with the incidence in fetuses from the control group.

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