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The only difference in furosemide tablets is in the quantity of drug contained within them. They are available in 20 milligrams (mg), 40 mg, and 60 mg tablet strengths. It is a medication that falls into the classification of loop diuretics, and is commonly referred to as a water pill. The drug is used to reduce fluid retention, or swelling, produced by different medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure or kidney disorders. In addition, it is also prescribed for high blood pressure.
Before starting on furosemide, patients should apprise their doctors of any drug allergies they have. Physicians should also be made aware of all prescription drugs and over-the-counter medication the patient is taking. In addition to drug allergies and medications, certain medical conditions can have an effect on furosemide, so this area should be thoroughly discussed as well in the doctor's visit. These factors will assist the physician in determining what strength of dosage to prescribe, or whether to use an alternative drug to furosemide.
The strength prescribed will depend on the size of the patient and the drug's intended use, but certain guidelines are common to all dosage units. Patients should follow the physician's directions for taking furosemide tablets, being careful not to take them more often or longer than prescribed. If a dose is missed, it should be taken as quickly as possible, unless the next dose is due soon. When a case such as this occurs, the forgotten dose should be skipped, and the patient should return to his or her regular dosing timetable. A forgotten dose taken closely to a regularly scheduled dose can result in double dosing, which should never be done.
No matter what strength dose is used, the most common side effect of furosemide tablets is frequent urination, which may linger as long as six hours following a dose. This symptom should diminish after the patient has been on the drug for several weeks. Other side effects may include weakness, dizziness, and confusion. Blurred vision, vomiting, and headaches may also occur. If any of these symptoms linger or are severe, they should be reported to the doctor.
In addition to the more common side effects of furosemide tablets, more serious ones can occur. These can include fever, unusual bleeding, and difficulty breathing or swallowing. Other symptoms that are a cause for concern are sore throat, hearing loss, and rapid weight loss. If a patient experiences any of these symptoms, his or her doctor should be notified immediately. Serious adverse reactions may also need to be reported to the US Food and Drug Administration or appropriate agency, as well as the doctor.
Patients taking furosemide tablets should go to the emergency room immediately if they experience any symptoms of overdosing. These include decreased urination, increased heart rate, and irregular heartbeat. Other overdosing indications are weak pulse, seizures, and rapid breathing. Heaviness of the legs, sunken eyes, and trembling are also alarming signs that overdosing has occurred.