Consumer Medicine Information
What is in this leaflet
This leaflet answers some common questions about Dithiazide.
It does not contain all the available information.
It does not take the place of talking to your doctor and pharmacist.
All medicines have risks and benefits. Your doctor has weighed the risks of you taking Dithiazide against the benefits they expect it will have for you.
If you have any concerns about taking this medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Keep this leaflet with the medicine. You may need to read it again.
What Dithiazide is used for
Dithiazide is a fluid tablet or diuretic. It helps reduce the amount of fluid in the body.
Dithiazide is used to treat swelling of the ankles, feet and legs, which is called oedema. This can occur in some heart, liver or kidney conditions.
It is also used to treat fluid accumulation during premenstrual tension (PMT).
Dithiazide also helps lower high blood pressure, which doctors call hypertension. It may be used alone or in combination with other medicines.
Everyone has blood pressure. This pressure helps get your blood all around your body. Your blood pressure may be different at different times of the day, depending on how busy or worried you are. You have hypertension (high blood pressure) when your blood pressure stays higher than is needed, even when you are calm and relaxed.
There are usually no symptoms of hypertension. The only way of knowing that you have hypertension is to have your blood pressure checked on a regular basis. If high blood pressure is not treated it can lead to serious health problems. You may feel fine and have no symptoms, but eventually hypertension can cause stroke, heart disease or kidney failure. Dithiazide helps to lower your blood pressure.
Dithiazide works by making your kidneys pass more water and salt. This helps reduce some forms of swelling and fluid accumulation and reduce high blood pressure.
Your doctor may have prescribed Dithiazide for another reason. Ask your doctor if you have any questions about why Dithiazide has been prescribed for you.
Dithiazide is not addictive.
Before you take Dithiazide
When you must not take it
Do not take Dithiazide if:
you have an allergy to Dithiazide or any of the ingredients listed at the end of this leaflet
you have an allergy to any sulfonamide or sulfur medicines
Dithiazide is a sulfur-containing medicine (a sulfonamide). Therefore, if you are allergic to sulfur medicines, such as some antibiotics, you are likely to be allergic to Dithiazide. Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure whether you are allergic to sulfur medicines. Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include skin rash, hives, fever, swelling of the face, lips, mouth, throat or tongue which may cause difficulty breathing or swallowing. Do not take Dithiazide if:
you are breast-feeding or plan to breast-feed
Dithiazide passes into breast milk and therefore there is a possibility that the breast-fed baby may be affected.
you are not passing urine
Do not take Dithiazide if:
the seal on the bottle is torn or shows signs of tampering
the expiry date (EXP) printed on the label has passed.
If you take this medicine after the expiry date has passed, it may not work.
If you are not sure whether you should start taking Dithiazide, talk to your doctor.
Before you start to take it
Tell your doctor if:
1. you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant
Like most diuretics, Dithiazide is not recommended for use during pregnancy. If there is a need to consider using Dithiazide during your pregnancy, your doctor will discuss with you the benefits and risks of using it.
2. you have any medical conditions, especially the following:
lupus erythematosus (known as SLE), a disease affecting the skin, joints and kidneys
3. you have any allergies to any other medicines or any other substances, such as foods, preservatives or dyes.
If you have not told your doctor about any of the above, tell them before you take Dithiazide.
Taking other medicines
Tell your doctor if you are taking any other medicines, including medicines that you buy without a prescription from your pharmacy, supermarket or health food shop. Some medicines and Dithiazide may interfere with each other. These include:
other medicines used to treat high blood pressure
other fluid tablets (diuretics)
digoxin, used to treat heart failure
lithium, used to treat severe mood swings and some types of depression
steroid medicines such as cortisone, prednisone
insulin and tablets used to treat diabetes
barbiturates, used to treat epilepsy, such as phenobarbitone
strong pain killers such as codeine, morphine, dextroproxyphene
non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) used to treat inflammation, pain, arthritis
cholestyramine and colestipol, used to treat high cholesterol
medicines used to relax muscles before and during surgery
medicines used in emergency situations such as adrenaline
These medicines may be affected by Dithiazide, or may affect how well it works. You may need different amounts of your medicine, or you may need to take different medicines. Your doctor or pharmacist has more information on medicines to be careful with or to avoid while taking Dithiazide. How to take Dithiazide How much to take
Take Dithiazide only when prescribed by your doctor.
Your doctor will tell you how many tablets you need to take each day.
This depend on your condition and whether you are taking other medicines.
For high blood pressure, the usual starting dose is 25 mg or 50 mg a day, taken as a single dose or in divided doses. Some patients may be started on a lower dose. Depending on how you respond, the dose may need to be increased. Most patients take between 12.5 mg to 100 mg each day. For oedema, the usual dose is 25 mg to 100 mg, once or twice a day. For oedema associated with premenstrual tension, the usual dose is 25 mg to 50 mg once or twice a day. Infants and children
Your doctor will tell you the dose. This is based on age and body weight. Swallow Dithiazide with a glass of water.
Follow all directions given to you by your doctor and pharmacist carefully. They may differ from the information contained in this leaflet.
If you do not understand the instructions, ask your doctor or pharmacist for help.
When to take it
If you are taking a single dose a day, take it in the morning, for example at breakfast time. If you are taking more than one dose a day, take the last dose no later than 6 p.m, unless your doctor tells you otherwise. Dithiazide may increase the amount of water (urine) you pass and also the number of times you go to the toilet. By taking the last dose no later than 6 p.m there may be less chance of your sleep being disturbed. Take your Dithiazide every day at about the same time each day, unless your doctor tells you otherwise. This will help you remember when to take the tablets.
How long to take it
If you have high blood pressure, Dithiazide helps to control this condition but does not cure it. Therefore Dithiazide must be taken every day. Continue taking Dithiazide for as long as your doctor tells you. If you have oedema associated with premenstrual tension, Dithiazide is usually taken from the first morning of your symptoms until the onset of the period. If you have oedema associated with other conditions, your doctor will tell you how long to take it. If you forget to take it
If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the dose you missed and take your next dose when you are meant to. Otherwise, take it as soon as you remember, and then go back to taking your tablet(s) as you would normally.
If you are not sure whether to skip the dose, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Do not take a double dose to make up for the dose that you missed.
If you have trouble remembering to take your tablets, ask your pharmacist for some hints.
If you take too much (overdose)
Immediately telephone your doctor or Poisons Information Centre (telephone 131126), or go to accident and emergency at your nearest hospital, if you think that you or anyone else may have taken too much Dithiazide. Do this even if there are no signs of discomfort or poisoning. You may need urgent medical attention.
If you take too many tablets, you will probably feel light-headed or dizzy, or you may faint. You may also become very thirsty, confused, have a change in the amount of urine passed or have a fast heart beat.
While you are using Dithiazide
Things you must do
Have your blood pressure checked when your doctor says, to make sure Dithiazide is working. If you become pregnant while taking Dithiazide, tell your doctor immediately.
If you feel light-headed, dizzy or faint when getting out of bed or standing up, get up slowly. You may feel light-headed or dizzy when you begin to take Dithiazide. This is because your blood pressure is falling suddenly. Standing up slowly, especially when you get up from bed or chairs, will help your body get used to the change in position and blood pressure. If this problem gets worse or continues, talk to your doctor.
If you have excessive vomiting and/or diarrhoea while taking Dithiazide, or you have any of the following symptoms, tell your doctor:
dry mouth, thirst
weakness, tiredness, drowsiness
muscle pains or cramps
fast heart beat
passing less urine than normal
You may be dehydrated because you are losing too much water. If you plan to have surgery (even at the dentist) that needs a general anaesthetic, tell your doctor or dentist that you are taking Dithiazide. Your blood pressure may drop suddenly.
If you are about to be started on any new medicine, tell your doctor and pharmacist that you are taking Dithiazide.
Things you must not do
Do not give Dithiazide to anyone else, even if they have the same condition as you.
Things to be careful of
Be careful driving or operating machinery until you know how Dithiazide affects you. Dithiazide may cause dizziness or light-headedness in some people, especially after the first few doses or if the dose is increased. Make sure you know how you react to Dithiazide before you drive a car, operate machinery, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are dizzy or light-headed.
If you drink alcohol, or take strong pain killers or barbiturates, dizziness and light-headedness may be worse.
Things that would be helpful for your blood pressure
Some self help measures suggested below may help your blood pressure. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about these measures and for more information.
Alcohol - your doctor may advise you to limit your alcohol intake.
Diet - eat a healthy diet which includes plenty of fresh vegetables, fruit, bread, cereals and fish. Also eat less fat and sugar.
Exercise - regular exercise helps to reduce blood pressure. Try regular walking, swimming, cycling or games such as tennis and golf. Before starting any exercise, ask your doctor about the best kind of programme for you.
Salt - your doctor may advise you to watch the amount of salt in your diet. To reduce your salt intake you should avoid using salt in cooking or at the table.
Smoking - your doctor may advise you to stop smoking or at least cut down.
Weight - your doctor may suggest losing some weight to help lower your blood pressure. Some people may need a dietitian's help to lose weight.
Tell your doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible if you do not feel well while you are taking Dithiazide.
Dithiazide helps most people with high blood pressure or oedema, but it may have unwanted side effects in a few people. All medicines can have side effects. Sometimes they are serious, most of the time they are not. You may need medical treatment if you get some of the side effects.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist to answer any questions you may have.
Tell your doctor if you notice any of the following and they worry you:
nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite
diarrhoea, constipation, stomach cramps
dizziness or lightheadedness
transient blurred vision or yellow vision
These are usually mild side effects of Dithiazide, but may be serious. Tell your doctor immediately if you notice any of the following:
severe dizziness, spinning sensation
frequent infections such as fever, severe chills, sore throat or mouth ulcers
bruising or bleeding more easily than normal, nose bleeds
tiredness, headaches, being short of breath when exercising, looking pale
yellowing of the skin and/or eyes, also called jaundice
numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
skin rash, itchiness
These may be serious side effects. You may need urgent medical attention. Serious side effects are rare. Tell your doctor immediately or go to accident and emergency at your nearest hospital if you notice any of the following:
swelling of the face, lips, mouth, throat or tongue which may cause difficulty swallowing or breathing
shortness of breath
pinkish, itchy swellings on the skin, also called hives or nettlerash
severe skin reaction which starts with painful red areas, then large blisters and ends with peeling of layers of skin. This is accompanied by fever and chills, aching muscles and generally feeling unwell.
These are serious side effects. If you have them, you may have had a serious allergic reaction to Dithiazide. You may need urgent medical attention or hospitalisation. These side effects are rare.
Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. Tell your doctor if you notice any other side effects.
Do not be alarmed by this list of possible side effects. You may not experience any of them.
After using Dithiazide
Keep your tablets in the bottle until it is time to take them. If you take the tablets out of bottle they may not keep well.
Keep Dithiazide in a cool dry place where the temperature stays below 25 °C.
Do not store it or any other medicines in the bathroom or near a sink.
Do not leave it in the car or on window sills. Heat and dampness can destroy some medicines.
Keep it where children cannot reach it. A locked cupboard at least one-and-a-half metres above the ground is a good place to store medicines.
If your doctor tells you to stop taking Dithiazide, or the tablets have passed their expiry date, ask your pharmacist what to do with any that are left over. Product description What it looks like
Dithiazide 25 mg - light orange coloured, round, scored tablet debossed with company logo and 2083 on one side A bottle contains 100 tablets. Ingredients
Dithiazide 25 mg - 25mg hydrochlorothiazide per tablet. Inactive ingredients:
Calcium hydrogen phosphate
Dithiazide does not contain sucrose or gluten. Supplier Dithiazide 25mg is supplied in Australia by: PHARMALAB
332 Burns Bay Road
Lane Cove NSW 2066
AUST R 92060
This leaflet was prepared in December 2002