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Losartan and Hydrochlorothiazide

IMPORTANT WARNING:

Do not take losartan and hydrochlorothiazide if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking losartan and hydrochlorothiazide, call your doctor immediately.

Why is this medication prescribed?

The combination of losartan and hydrochlorothiazide is used to treat high blood pressure. It blocks the action of certain chemicals that tighten the blood vessels so blood flows more smoothly. It also causes the kidneys to get rid of unneeded water and salt from the body into the urine.

This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

How should this medicine be used?

The combination of losartan and hydrochlorothiazide comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken once or twice a day. If you are to take it once a day, take it in the morning; if you are to take it twice a day, take it in the morning and in the late afternoon to avoid having to go to the bathroom during the night. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take losartan and hydrochlorothiazide exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

The combination of losartan and hydrochlorothiazide controls high blood pressure but does not cure it. Continue to take losartan and hydrochlorothiazide even if you feel well. Do not stop taking losartan and hydrochlorothiazide without talking to your doctor.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before taking losartan and hydrochlorothiazide,

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to losartan, hydrochlorothiazide, sulfa drugs, or any other drugs.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Nuprin, or Advil) or naproxen (Aleve), barbiturates (phenobarbital), corticosteroids (prednisone), digoxin (Lanoxin, Lanoxicaps), diuretics ('water pills'), lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid), medications for diabetes, other medications for high blood pressure, potassium supplements, probenecid (Benemid), and vitamins. If you are also taking cholestyramine (Questran, Prevalite) or colestipol (Colestid), take it at least 1 hour after losartan and hydrochlorothiazide.
  • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had gout; systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE); asthma; thyroid, liver, heart, or kidney disease; or diabetes.
  • if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking losartan and hydrochlorothiazide.
  • you should know that this drug may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how losartan and hydrochlorothiazide will affect you.
  • remember that alcohol can add to the drowsiness caused by this drug.
  • plan to avoid unnecessary or prolonged exposure to sunlight and to wear protective clothing, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Losartan and hydrochlorothiazide may make your skin sensitive to sunlight.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Take this medication with meals or a snack. Follow your doctor's directions. Talk to your doctor before using salt substitutes containing potassium. If your doctor prescribes a low-salt or low-sodium diet or an exercise program, follow these directions carefully.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Although side effects from losartan and hydrochlorothiazide are not common, they can occur. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • cough
  • stomach pain
  • muscle aches
  • dizziness
  • congestion
  • thirst
  • hair loss

If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

  • swelling of the face, eyes, lips, tongue, arms, or legs
  • difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • fainting
  • rash
  • sore throat with fever
  • unusual bleeding or bruising

Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

In case of emergency/overdose

In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.

What other information should I know?

Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your blood pressure should be checked regularly to determine your response to losartan and hydrochlorothiazide. Your doctor will order certain blood tests to monitor you response to losartan and hydrochlorothiazide.

Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.

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Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT
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