Triamterene | Side Effects, Dosage, Uses & More
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Generic Name:

triamterene, Oral capsule

All Brands

  • Dyrenium
SECTION 1 of 4

Highlights for triamterene

Oral capsule
1

Triamterene is an oral drug that’s used to treat edema (extra fluid in the tissues of your body). In this condition, you’ll have swelling in your arms, legs, or face.

2

The starting dose is 50–100 mg taken by mouth twice per day after meals. Your doctor may adjust your dose based on how you respond to this drug.

3

This drug may increase your potassium levels. This can be fatal. Your risk may be higher if you have kidney problems, diabetes, are severely ill, are a senior, or if you take other drugs that increase potassium levels. Your doctor should monitor your potassium levels regularly, when your dose is changed, or when you’re sick.

4

If you have kidney problems, your doctor should check your blood levels of nitrogen and potassium regularly while you take this drug. If you’re a senior or have diabetes, your doctor should also regularly check your potassium levels.

5

Common side effects include stomach problems, central nervous system problems, and increased urination.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

FDA Warning

This drug has a Black Box Warning. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A black box warning alerts doctors and patients to potentially dangerous effects.

High blood potassium level warning

Triamterene may increase your potassium level. This can be fatal. Your risk may be higher if you have kidney problems, diabetes, are severely ill, are a senior, or take other drugs that increase your potassium levels. Your doctor should monitor your potassium levels regularly, when your dose is changed, or when you’re sick.

Heart problems

Triamterene may increase your risk of an abnormal heart rhythm. Your risk may be higher if you have high levels of potassium in your blood.

Electrolyte imbalance

This drug may cause an electrolyte imbalance. Your risk may be higher if you have congestive heart failure, kidney problems, or liver cirrhosis.

Drug features

Triamterene is a prescription drug. It’s available as an oral capsule.

Triamterene is available as a brand-name drug called Dyrenium. It’s not available as a generic drug.

Triamterene may be used as part of a combination therapy. That means you need to take it with other drugs.

Why it’s used

Triamterene is used to treat extra fluid in the tissues of your body (edema). In this condition, you’ll have swelling in your arms, legs, or face.

How it works

Triamterene belongs to a class of drugs called potassium-sparing diuretics.

More Details

How it works

Triamterene belongs to a class of drugs called potassium-sparing diuretics. A class of drugs refers to medications that work similarly. They have a similar chemical structure and are often used to treat similar conditions.

Triamterene makes the kidneys get rid of unneeded water and sodium from the body. This extra fluid comes out in the urine, but reduces the loss of potassium.

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SECTION 2 of 4

triamterene Side Effects

Oral capsule

Most Common Side Effects

The more common side effects that occur with triamterene include:

  • upset stomach

  • vomiting

  • increased urination

  • dizziness

  • headache

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

If you experience any of these serious side effects, call your doctor right away. If your symptoms are potentially life-threatening or if you think you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

  • Stomach problems. Symptoms can include:

    • diarrhea
    • loss of appetite
    • pain in the upper right part of your stomach
    • upset stomach
  • Central nervous system problems. Symptoms can include:

    • extreme tiredness
    • lack of energy
  • Heart problems. Symptoms can include:

    • slow or irregular heartbeat
  • Bleeding problems. Symptoms can include:

    • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Breathing problems. Symptoms can include:

    • trouble breathing
  • Throat and mouth problems. Symptoms can include:

    • trouble swallowing
    • sore throat
    • severe dry mouth
  • Skin problems. Symptoms can include:

    • skin rash
  • Flu-like symptoms, such as:

    • chills
    • cough
    • congestion
    • fatigue
    • fever
    • headache
    • muscle aches
    • runny nose
  • Liver problems. Symptoms can include:

    • yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes
  • Muscle problems. Symptoms can include:

    • muscle weakness or cramps
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team
Triamterene does not cause drowsiness.
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 4

triamterene May Interact with Other Medications

Oral capsule

Triamterene can interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. That’s why your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. If you’re curious about how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Note: You can reduce your chances of drug interactions by having all of your prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy. That way, a pharmacist can check for possible drug interactions.

Food interactions

You shouldn’t eat potassium-containing salt substitutes while you’re taking this drug. Talk to your doctor about the amount of potassium-rich foods (such as, bananas, prunes, raisins, and orange juice) that you can eat. Foods high in potassium can increase your risk of high potassium levels in your blood.

Medications that might interact with this drug

Pain drugs

Certain pain drugs increase your risk of acute kidney failure when taken with triamterene.

These drugs include:

  • cox-2 inhibitors, such as:
    • celecoxib
  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as:
    • diclofenac
    • ibuprofen
    • indomethacin
    • keoprofen
    • ketorolac
    • meloxicam
    • nabumetone
    • naproxen
    • piroxicam

High blood pressure drugs

Triamterene will increase the effects of certain high blood pressure drugs on your body.

These drugs include:

  • beta blockers, such as:
    • acebutolol
    • arotinolol
    • atenolol
    • betaxolol
    • bisoprolol
    • esmolol
    • metoprolol
    • nadolol
    • nebivolol
    • penbutolol
    • pindolol
    • propranolol
    • timolol(systemic)
  • calcium channel blockers, such as:
    • amlodipine
    • felodipine
    • nicardipine
    • nifedipine
  • direct renin inhibitors, such as:
    • aliskiren
  • loop diuretics, such as:
    • bumetanide
    • furosemide
    • indapamide
    • torsemide
  • potassium-sparing diuretics, such as:
    • eplerenone
    • spironolactone
    • triamterene
  • thiazide diuretics, such as:
    • chlorthiazide
    • chlorthalidone
    • hydrochlorothiazide
    • methylclothiazide
    • metolazone

Triamterene will increase the effects of certain high blood pressure drugs on your body. Taking these drugs together will also increase your risk of high potassium levels in your blood.

These drugs include:

  • angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, such as:
    • benazepril
    • captopril
    • clizapril
    • enalapril
    • enalaprilat
    • fosniopril
    • imidapril
    • lisinopril
    • moexipril
    • perindopril
    • quinapril
    • ramipril
    • trandolapril
  • angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), such as:
    • irbesartan
    • losartan
    • olmesartan
    • telmisatan
    • valsartan

Anesthesia drugs

Triamterene will increase the effects of certain anesthesia drugs on your body.

These drugs include:

  • barbituates, such as:
    • amobarbital
    • butabarbital
    • butalbital
    • pentobarbital
    • phenobarbital
    • secobarbital
    • thiopental

Potassium-containing drugs

These drugs increase your risk of high potassium levels in your blood when taken with triamterene.

These drugs include:

  • injectable penicillin G

Salt substitutes

These drugs increase your risk of high potassium levels in your blood when taken with triamterene.

Diabetes drugs

Triamterene may increase your blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes, your doctor may adjust the dose of your medications.

These drugs include:

  • amylin analogs, such as:
    • pramlintide
  • biguanides, such as:
    • metformin
  • GLP 1 agonists, such as:
    • exenatide
    • liraglutide
    • lixisentaide
  • DPP4 inhibitors, such as:
    • saxagliptin
    • sitagliptin
  • insulins, such as:
    • insulin aspart
    • insulin detemir
    • insulin glargine
    • insulin glulisine
    • insulin lispro
    • insulin NPH
    • insulin regular
  • meglitinides, such as:
    • nateglinide
    • repaglinide
  • sulfonylureas, such as:
    • glimepriide
    • glipizide
    • glyburide
  • SGLT-2 inhibitors, such as:
    • canagliflozin
    • dapagliflozin
    • empagliflozin
  • thiazolidinediones, such as:
    • pioglitazone
    • rosiglitazone

Chlorpropamide

This drug increases your risk of low levels of sodium in your blood when taken with triamterene.

Lithium

Taking this drug with triamterene will increase your risk of side effects associated with lithium. Your doctor will monitor your levels of lithium regularly.

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.

People with high potassium levels

Triamterene may increase your body’s potassium level. If you already have high potassium levels, this drug may raise your risk of muscle weakness, tiredness, tingling sensations, nausea, and heart problems. This can even lead to death.

People with kidney problems

If you have kidney problems, this drug may build up in your body. Having higher levels of triamterene in your body has been associated with heart problems. If you have severe kidney problems, you shouldn’t use this drug.

People with heart problems

Triamterene can increase your potassium levels. Too much potassium can cause further heart problems and even lead to death.

People with an electrolyte imbalance

Triamterene can increase your potassium levels. If you already have an electrolyte imbalance, specifically potassium levels, too much potassium can cause heart irregularities and even death.

People with nitrogen retention

This drug may increase the level of nitrogen in your blood.

People with metabolic acidosis

This drug may increase the acidity of your blood. If you have too much acid in your blood, you may have fast breathing, confusion, and lethargy. This can be life threatening.

People with liver problems

Triamterene may decrease the levels of folic acid in your body. If you have liver cirrhosis, this drug may increase your risk of blood problems and further liver problems. Your doctor should test your blood regularly while you take this drug.

People with increased uric acid levels

Triamterene may increase the level of uric acid in your blood. This may increase your risk of gout.

People with kidney stones

triamterene may increase your risk of kidney stones. Use this medication with caution if you have a history of kidney stones.

Pregnant women

Triamterene 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.

Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant. This drug should only be used if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

Women who are breast-feeding

It isn’t known if triamterene passes into breast milk. If it does, it may cause side effects in a child who is breast-fed.

Talk to your doctor if you breast-feed your baby. You may need to decide whether to stop breast-feeding or stop taking this medication.

For seniors

Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of this drug to be higher than normal in your body. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or a different schedule.

For children

This medicine shouldn’t be used in children younger than 18 years.

Allergies

Triamterene can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms include:

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

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

SECTION 4 of 4

How to Take triamterene (Dosage)

Oral capsule

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?

Edema

Brand: Dyrenium

Form: Oral capsule
Strengths: 50 mg, 100 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years):
  • starting dose: 50–100 mg taken twice per day after meals
  • dose changes: Your doctor may adjust your dose based upon how you respond to triamterene. If you’re also taking another diuretic or high blood pressure drug, your doctor may decrease the dose of both medicines. This is done to lower your risk of side effects.
  • maximum dose: 300 mg per day
Child dosage (ages 0–17 years):

This medicine should not be used in children younger than 18 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older):

There are no 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 in your body. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or a different schedule.

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
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

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

If you don't take it at all

Your body won’t get rid of the extra fluid. This may cause problems such as trouble walking and breathing.

If you stop taking it suddenly

Don’t stop taking triamterene without talking to your doctor first. Stopping this drug suddenly may make your edema worse.

If you don't take it on schedule

You may not see a full benefit of this medication for the treatment of edema.

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 before 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 toxic side effects.

If you take too much

You may have an increased risk of side effects caused by this medication. This can be fatal. Symptoms include:

  • muscle weakness
  • tiredness
  • tingling sensations
  • nausea
  • heart problems
  • low blood pressure, which may make you feel dizzy

If you think you’ve taken too much of the drug, act right away. Call your doctor or local poison control center, or go to the nearest emergency room.

How to tell the drug is working

If this drug is working, you should have less swelling in your body.

Triamterene is used for long-term treatment.

Important considerations for taking triamterene
Take triamterene after meals Take triamterene after meals
Timing If you take this drug only once per day, take one dose after your evening meal
Don’t crush or cut the capsule Don’t crush or cut the capsule
Storage Store triamterene carefully See Details
Refillable Prescription is refillable See Details
Travel  Travel See Details
Clinical monitoring Clinical monitoring See Details
Sun sensitivity Sun sensitivity See Details
Not usually stocked Not every pharmacy stocks this drug. When filling your prescription, be sure to call ahead
Prior Authorization Needed Insurance See Details

Store triamterene carefully

  • Store triamterene between 59°F and 86°F (15°C and 30°C).
  • Don’t freeze triamterene.
  • Keep it away from light.
  • Keep it away from high temperature.
  • Keep your drugs away from areas where they could get wet, such as bathrooms. Store this drug away from moisture and damp locations.

Prescription is refillable

You should not need a new prescription for this medication to be refilled. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you. When flying, never put it into a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport x-ray machines. They can’t hurt this medication.
  • You may need to show your pharmacy’s label to clearly identify the medication. Keep the original prescription label with you when traveling.
  • Don’t leave this medicine in the car, especially when the temperature is hot or freezing.

Clinical monitoring

During your treatment with triamterene, your doctor may check your:

  • potassium level
  • blood sugar level
  • sodium level
  • liver function
  • kidney function

Sun sensitivity

This drug may make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. You should:

  • Avoid direct sunlight and tanning beds.
  • Avoid being outside from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. This is the time when the sun is the strongest.
  • Wear protective clothing and UVA/UVB sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 when you’re out in the sun.

Insurance

Many insurance companies require a prior authorization for this drug. 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.

What does the pill look like?

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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 23, 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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