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Methyldopa and Hydrochlorothiazide

Why is this medication prescribed?

The combination of methyldopa and hydrochlorothiazide is used to treat high blood pressure. Methyldopa works by relaxing the blood vessels so that blood can flow more easily through the body. Hydrochlorothiazide helps to lower blood pressure by eliminating unneeded water and salt from the body.

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

How should this medicine be used?

This medication comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It usually is taken two or three times a day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take methyldopa and hydrochlorothiazide exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

This medication controls high blood pressure but does not cure it. Continue to take methyldopa and hydrochlorothiazide even if you feel well. Do not stop taking methyldopa and hydrochlorothiazide without talking to your doctor.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before taking methyldopa and hydrochlorothiazide,

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to methyldopa, hydrochlorothiazide, sulfa drugs, or any other drugs.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially cholestyramine (Questran), digoxin (Lanoxin), haloperidol (Haldol), levodopa (Sinemet), lithium (Lithobid, Eskalith), MAO inhibitors [phenelzine (Nardil) and tranylcypromine (Parnate)], medications for diabetes, prednisone (Deltasone), probenecid (Benemid), tolbutamide (Orinase), and vitamins.
  • do not take with iron supplements or vitamins containing iron.
  • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had kidney or liver disease, diabetes, gout, or high blood cholesterol.
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking methyldopa and hydrochlorothiazide, call your doctor.
  • if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking methyldopa and hydrochlorothiazide.
  • you should know that this drug may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery for 48-72 hours after you begin to take this medication or after your dose is increased.
  • ask your doctor about the safe use of alcohol while you are using methyldopa and hydrochlorothiazide. Alcohol can make the side effects from methyldopa and hydrochlorothiazide worse.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Your doctor may prescribe a low-salt or low-sodium diet. 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 methyldopa and hydrochlorothiazide are not common, they can occur. Methyldopa and hydrochlorothiazide may cause your urine to darken when it is exposed to air; this effect is harmless. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • frequent urination
  • dry mouth
  • drowsiness
  • headache
  • upset stomach
  • vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • diarrhea
  • gas
  • rash

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

  • extreme tiredness
  • muscle weakness or cramps
  • unexplained fever
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • trouble breathing
  • swollen ankles or feet

Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store 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 methyldopa and hydrochlorothiazide.

To relieve dry mouth caused by methyldopa and hydrochlorothiazide, chew gum or suck sugarless hard candy.

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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