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Generic Name:

chlorothiazide, Oral suspension

All Brands

  • Diuril
SECTION 1 of 5

Highlights for chlorothiazide

Oral suspension
1

Chlorothiazide is used to treat high blood pressure and swelling due to fluid buildup in your body (edema) that’s caused by other medical conditions. It can be used alone or in combination with other heart drugs.

2

The standard starting dose for adults is 500–2,000 mg per day taken by mouth, given in 1–2 divided doses.

3

You shouldn’t take chlorothiazide if you cannot pass urine or if you’re allergic to sulfa drugs.

4

Let your doctor know about your other health conditions before you start taking this drug. Tell your doctor if you have kidney or liver disease, diabetes, lupus, gout, or asthma, or if you’re pregnant.

5

Common side effects include diarrhea, loss of appetite, dizziness, weakness,  high blood sugar, high uric acid levels in your blood, and increased sensitivity to sunlight.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Fluid loss/electrolyte issues

You may lose too much fluid or electrolytes while you’re taking chlorothiazide. You need the right balance of electrolytes for your body for it to work well. This drug may cause low sodium (hyponatremia), low chloride (hypochloremia), and low potassium blood levels (hypokalemia). Symptoms include:

  • weakness
  • fatigue
  • muscle cramps
  • irregular heart rate (arrhythmias)
  • confusion
  • seizures
  • coma

High blood sugar

Chlorothiazide may raise your blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes, you may need to test your blood sugar more often. Your doctor may adjust your diabetes medications. Call your doctor if you have symptoms of high blood sugar, including:

  • urinating more often
  • intense thirst
  • tiredness
  • blurred vision

What is chlorothiazide?

Chlorothiazide is a prescription drug. It’s available in these forms: oral tablet, oral suspension, and solution for injection.

Chlorothiazide oral tablets are only available as a generic drug. Chlorothiazide oral suspension is only available as a brand-name drug called Diuril.

Chlorothiazide may be taken as part of a combination therapy with other classes of medications used to control your high blood pressure or fluid retention (edema).

Why it's used

Chlorothiazide is used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension). It’s also used to treat edema. This is swelling due to fluid buildup in your body. It may be caused by congestive heart failure, liver cirrhosis, or kidney disease. It may also be caused by using certain medications, such as estrogen or corticosteroids.

How it works

Chlorothiazide belongs to a class of drugs called thiazide diuretics. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. They are often used to treat similar conditions.

More Details

How it works

Chlorothiazide belongs to a class of drugs called thiazide diuretics. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. They are often used to treat similar conditions.

Chlorothiazide works in your kidneys to remove sodium and water from your body. This helps reduce your blood pressure. It also helps decrease fluid buildup, which reduces swelling.

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SECTION 2 of 5

chlorothiazide Side Effects

Oral suspension

Most Common Side Effects

The more common side effects that can occur with chlorothiazide include:

  • diarrhea

  • loss of appetite

  • dizziness

  • weakness

  • increased sensitivity to sunlight (photosensitivity). You may get a severe sunburn even if you’re in the sun for a short period of time.

  • high blood sugar (hyperglycemia). If you have diabetes, you may need to test your blood sugar more often. Your doctor may adjust your diabetes medications. Call your doctor if you have any of these symptoms:

    • needing to urinate more often
    • increased thirst
    • blurred vision
    • tiredness
    • headache
    • fruity odor to your breath
    • weakness
    • confusion
  • high uric acid levels (hyperuricemia). A high uric acid level may cause gout attacks. Call your doctor if you have the following symptoms:

    • severe pain in your joints, especially in your big toe
    • swollen, inflamed, or red joints
    • being unable to move the affected joint
  • If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious Side Effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 9-1-1 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • low blood potassium levels (hypokalemia). Symptoms can include:

    • weakness
    • tiredness
    • muscle cramps
    • constipation
    • an irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia)
  • low blood chloride levels (hypochloremia). Symptoms can include:

    • dehydration, with symptoms such as:
      • dry mouth
      • muscle cramps
      • dizziness
      • weak heartbeat
      • diarrhea
      • vomiting
  • skin problems, such as:

    • Stevens-Johnson syndrome. Symptoms can include:
      • flu-like symptoms, such as fever and body aches
      • a red, painful rash with or without blisters
    • Toxic epidermal necrolysis. Symptoms can include:
      • blistering and peeling of your skin
  • inflammation of your pancreas (pancreatitis). Symptoms can include:

    • pain and tenderness in upper stomach area that can spread to your back or get worse after you eat
    • nausea
    • vomiting
  • liver problems. Symptoms can include:

    • yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes
    • nausea
    • vomiting
    • loss of appetite
    • stomach pain and swelling
    • bruising easily
    • light-colored stool
    • dark-colored urine
    • unusual tiredness
  • kidney problems. Symptoms can include:

    • swelling of your feet, ankles, or legs
    • drowsiness
    • tiredness
    • chest pain
    • nausea
    • shortness of breath
    • making less urine than normal, or no urine at all
  • lupus. This is an autoimmune disease where your immune system attacks your body. This causes inflammation in many parts of your body. Symptoms can include:

    • tiredness
    • joint pain
    • a butterfly-shaped rash across the middle of your face
    • sensitivity to the sun
    • decreased circulation. This may cause cold fingers and toes.
Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

Chlorothiazide can make you feel dizzy and weak. You shouldn’t drive, use machinery, or do similar tasks that require alertness until you know how this medication affects you.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
SECTION 3 of 5

chlorothiazide May Interact with Other Medications

Oral suspension

Chlorothiazide can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Alcohol interaction

Chlorothiazide may cause a sudden drop in blood pressure. You may feel dizzy, lightheaded, or faint. This may be especially likely when you stand up from a sitting or lying position. Drinking alcohol while taking this drug can make these effects worse.

Medications that might interact with this drug

Antipsychotic drugs

Lithium should not be taken with chlorothiazide. Chlorothiazide may decrease the amount of lithium that’s removed by your kidneys. This can lead to dangerous levels of lithium in your blood and more side effects.

Cholesterol drugs

These drugs may reduce the amount of chlorothiazide that’s absorbed from your stomach. This may be more likely to happen when you take them within four hours of your chlorothiazide dose. This means that the may not work as well to reduce the water in your body. These drugs include:

  • cholestyramine
  • colestipol

Diabetes drugs

Chlorothiazide may raise your blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia). If you have diabetes, you may need to test your blood sugar more often. Your doctor may adjust your diabetes drugs. These drugs include:

  • insulin
  • glimepiride
  • glipizide
  • glyburide
  • metformin
  • nateglinide
  • repaglinide

Blood pressure drugs

When chlorothiazide is used with other high blood pressure medications, your blood pressure can drop to dangerously low levels (hypotension). These drugs include:

  • angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs), such as:
    • azilsartan
    • candesartan
    • irbesartan
    • losartan
    • olmesartan
    • telmisartan
    • valsartan
  • angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, such as:
    • benazepril
    • captopril 
    • enalapril
    • fosinopril
    • lisinopril
    • moexipril
    • perindopril 
    • quinapril
    • ramipril 
    • trandolapril
  • beta blockers, such as:
    • acebutolol
    • atenolol
    • betaxolol
    • esmolol
    • metoprolol
    • nadolol
    • nebivolol
    • penbutolol
    • pindolol
    • propranolol
    • timolol
  • calcium channel blockers, such as:
    • amlodipine
    • diltiazem
    • felodipine
    • nicardipine
    • nifedipine
    • verapamil
  • diuretics, such as:
    • amiloride
    • bumetanide
    • chlorthalidone
    • ethacrynate
    • furosemide
    • hydrochlorothiazide
    • indapamide
    • methyclothiazide
    • metolazone
    • spironolactone
    • torsemide
    • triamterene

Pain drugs

Taking certain drugs with chlorothiazide may cause a severe drop in blood pressure. This is especially likely when standing up from a seated or lying position (orthostatic hypotension). These drugs include:

  • barbiturates, such as:
    • amobarbital
    • butabarbital
    • pentobarbital
    • phenobarbital
    • secobarbital
  • narcotics, such as:
    • codeine
    • hydrocodone
    • morphine
    • oxycodone

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) can decrease how well chlorothiazide works to reduce your blood pressure and fluid retention. These drugs include:

  • diclofenac
  • etodolac
  • fenoprofen
  • flurbiprofen
  • ibuprofen
  • indomethacin
  • ketoprofen
  • ketorolac
  • mefenamic acid
  • meloxicam
  • nabumetone
  • naproxen
  • oxaprozin
  • piroxicam
  • sulindac
  • tolmetin

Other drugs

When taken with chlorothiazide, corticosteroids may decrease your blood potassium levels (hypokalemia). These drugs include:

  • betamethasone
  • budesonide
  • dexamethasone
  • hydrocortisone
  • methylprednisolone
  • prednisolone
  • prednisone

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
Chlorothiazide warnings
kidney problems
People with kidney problems

Use chlorothiazide with caution if you have severe kidney disease. This drug may cause you to stop making urine (anuria) and lead to kidney failure. Call your doctor if you have swelling in your feet, ankles, or hands (edema) or unexplained weight gain.

liver problems
People with liver problems

Use this drug with caution if you have severe liver disease. Chlorothiazide may cause a fluid and electrolyte imbalance in your body. This can lead to other severe liver problems that are a medical emergency.

sulfa allergy
People with sulfa allergy

Chlorothiazide is similar to a class of drugs called sulfonamides (sulfa drugs). If you’re allergic to sulfa drugs, you may be allergic to chlorothiazide. Tell your doctor if you have a sulfa allergy before taking this drug.

asthma
People with asthma

People with asthma may be more likely to have an allergic reaction to chlorothiazide. Tell your doctor if you have asthma before you take this drug.

diabetes
People with diabetes

This drug may raise your blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia). If you have diabetes, you may need to test your blood sugar more often. Your doctor may adjust your diabetes medications.

lupus
People with lupus

Chlorothiazide may worsen your lupus symptoms or activate the disease.

gout
People with gout

Chlorothiazide may increase uric acid levels and cause a gout attack. Tell your doctor if you have a history of gout attacks. They’ll monitor your uric acid levels during treatment with this drug.

dehydration
People with dehydration

Chlorothiazide may lower your blood pressure to dangerously low levels if you’re dehydrated. You may become dehydrated if you don’t drink enough water or have vomiting or diarrhea.

pregnant women
Pregnant women

Chlorothiazide is a category C pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There haven’t been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus.

Tell your doctor if you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Chlorothiazide should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

breastfeeding
Women who are breast-feeding

Chlorothiazide may pass into breast milk and cause serious effects in a child who is breast-fed.

You and your doctor may need to decide if you’ll take chlorothiazide or breast-feed.

for seniors
For seniors

As you age, your organs (such as your liver or kidneys) may not work as well as they did compared to when you were younger. More of this drug may stay in your body longer, putting you at risk for side effects.

allergies
Allergies

Chlorothiazide is similar to a class of drugs called sulfonamides (sulfa drugs). If you’re allergic to sulfa medications, you may be allergic to chlorothiazide.

Chlorothiazide can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:

  • trouble breathing or swallowing
  • swelling of your throat or tongue
  • hives

If you have an allergic reaction, call your doctor or local poison control center right away. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it or other sulfa drugs before. Taking it a second time after an allergic reaction could be fatal.

SECTION 4 of 5

How to Take chlorothiazide (Dosage)

Oral suspension

All possible dosages and forms may not be included here. Your dose, form, and how often you take it will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What are you taking this medication for?

Hypertension (high blood pressure)

Generic: chlorothiazide

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 250 mg, 500 mg

Brand: Diuril suspension

Form: Oral suspension
Strengths: 250 mg per 5 mL
Adult dosage (ages 18 and older)
  • Starting dose: 500–1,000 mg per day taken by mouth in 1–2 equally divided doses
  • Dose adjustments: Your doctor will adjust your dose based on how you respond to the drug.
  • Maximum dose: 2,000 mg per day, given in divided doses
Child dosage (ages 0–5 months)
  • Standard dose: 10–30 mg/kg per day taken by mouth in 2 divided doses
  • Maximum dose: 375 mg per day
Child dosage (ages 6–23 months)
  • Standard dose: 10–20 mg/kg per day taken by mouth in 1–2 divided doses
  • Maximum dose: 375 mg per day
Child dosage (ages 2–12 years)
  • Standard dose: 10–20 mg/kg per day taken by mouth in 1–2 divided doses
  • Maximum dose: 1,000 mg per day
Child dosage (ages 13–17 years)
 
  • Starting dose: 500–1,000 mg by mouth per day in 1–2 divided doses
  • Dose adjustments: Your child’s doctor will adjust the dose based on how your child responds to the medication.
  • Maximum dose: 2,000 mg per day, given in divided doses
Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

There aren’t any specific recommendations for senior dosing. Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of this drug to be higher than normal. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or a different schedule.

Special considerations

Kidney disease: Chlorothiazide may make you stop producing urine (anuria) and cause kidney failure. Do not use this medication if you have severe renal failure (CrCl <10 mL/min).

Edema (swelling caused by extra fluid in the body’s tissues)

Generic: chlorothiazide

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 250 mg, 500 mg

Brand: Diuril suspension

Form: Oral suspension
Strengths: 250 mg per 5 mL
Adult dosage (ages 18 and older)
  • Standard dose: 500–1,000 mg per day taken by mouth in 1–2 equally divided doses
  • Your doctor may have you take this drug every other day or 3–5 days per week. This is called intermittent therapy.
Child dosage (ages 0–5 months)
  • Standard dose: 10–30 mg/kg per day taken by mouth in 2 divided doses
  • Maximum dose: 375 mg per day
Child dosage (ages 6–23 months)
  • Standard dose: 10–20 mg/kg per day taken by mouth in 1–2 divided doses
  • Maximum dose: 375 mg per day
Child dosage (ages 2–12 years)
  • Standard dose: 10–20 mg/kg per day taken by mouth in 1–2 divided doses
  • Maximum dose: 1,000 mg per day
Child dosage (ages 13–17 years)
  • Standard dose: 500–1,000 mg per day taken by mouth in 1–2 divided doses
  • Your doctor may have your child take this drug every other day or 3–5 days per week. This is called intermittent therapy.
Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

There aren’t any specific recommendations for senior dosing. Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of this drug to be higher than normal. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or a different schedule.

Special considerations

Kidney disease: Chlorothiazide may make you stop producing urine (anuria) and cause kidney failure. Do not use this medication if you have severe renal failure (CrCl <10 mL/min).

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

Chlorothiazide comes with serious risks if you don't take it as prescribed.

If you stop taking the drug suddenly or don’t take it at all

For high blood pressure: Your blood pressure will get worse. This will raise your risk of a heart attack or stroke.

For edema: Your swelling and fluid buildup won’t decrease. This can lead to serious problems, such as pain, infections, leg ulcers, and blood clots.

If you miss doses or don’t take the drug on schedule

Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. For this drug to work well, a certain amount needs to be in your body at all times.

If you take too much

If you take too much chlorothiazide, you may urinate too frequently, which can make you dehydrated. You may have the following symptoms:

  • dry mouth
  • muscle cramps
  • dizziness
  • weak or irregular heart rate 

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or local poison control center. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

What to do if you miss a dose

If you forget to take your dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it’s just a few hours until the time for your next dose, then wait and only take one dose at that time. 

Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could cause dangerous side effects.

How to tell if the drug is working

For high blood pressure: Your blood pressure will go down. Your doctor can check your blood pressure, or you can check it at home using a blood pressure monitor.

For edema: The swelling in your face, arms, hands, lower legs, or feet (edema) should decrease.

Chlorothiazide is used for long-term treatment of high blood pressure.

Chlorothiazide is used for long- or short-term treatment of edema.

Important considerations for taking chlorothiazide

Store this drug carefully

  • Store chlorothiazide at room temperature:
    • Oral tablets: 68–77°F (20–25°C).
    • Oral solution: 59–86°F (15–30°C).
  • Don’t freeze chlorothiazide.
  • Keep it away from light.
  • Keep your drugs away from areas where they could get wet, such as bathrooms. Store this drug away from moisture and damp locations.
  • Shake the oral suspension form well before using it.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry it with you or in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport x-ray machines. They can’t hurt this medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff your pharmacy’s label to clearly identify the medication. Keep the original prescription label with you when traveling.
  • Don’t leave this medication in the car, especially when the temperature is hot or freezing.

Self-management

For high blood pressure: You may need to check your blood pressure at home. You should keep a log with the date, time of day, and your blood pressure readings. Bring this log with you to your doctor appointments.

You may also need to buy your own blood pressure monitor. These devices are available at most pharmacies.

For edema: Your doctor may ask you to weigh yourself daily between check-ups to see if your fluid buildup is getting worse.

Clinical monitoring

Before starting and during treatment with chlorothiazide, your doctor will check your:

  • blood pressure
  • blood sugar levels
  • kidney function (serum creatinine and blood urea nitrogen)
  • blood and urine electrolyte levels (potassium, sodium, chloride)
  • uric acid levels

Your diet

  • Eat healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins (chicken or fish), and whole grains. Choose foods that are low in saturated and trans fats. This will help control your blood pressure.
  • Limit the amount of salt (sodium) in your diet. If you eat foods with too much salt, your body will retain more fluid. This will make your blood pressure and swelling worse. Talk to your doctor about the amount of sodium you should be eating.  

Sun sensitivity

Chlorothiazide may make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. You may get severe sunburn even if you’re in the sun for a short period of time.

  • Wear sunscreen and protective clothing when you’re out in the sun.
  • Avoid tanning booths.
  • Don’t stay out in the sun for long periods of time.

Not every pharmacy stocks all drug forms

When filling your prescription, be sure to call ahead. The oral suspension (Diuril) may not be available in all pharmacies.

Hidden costs

For high blood pressure: You may need to buy a home blood pressure monitor.

Insurance

Many insurance companies require a prior authorization for the oral suspension (Diuril). This means your doctor will need to get approval from your insurance company before your insurance company will pay for the prescription.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be more suitable for you than others. Talk to your doctor about possible alternatives.

SECTION 5 of 5

How Much Does chlorothiazide Cost?

Oral suspension

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Lowest price for chlorothiazide

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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for chlorothiazide on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for chlorothiazide on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

Show Sources

Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on September 10, 2015

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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