Triam/Hctz is a combination of the medications triamterene aand hydrochlorothiazide. These medications are potent diuretics, which means that they reduce the amount of fluid in the body by increasing the volume of urine. These medications can be used to treat high blood pressure by lowering the liquid volume of the blood. Although these drugs are generally considered to be safe, there are some side effects which should be noted.
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Many of the side effects that occur from using triamterene and hydrochlorothiazide affect the gastrointestinal system. Some of these are relatively mild and include nausea, vomiting, changes in appetite or taste, diarrhea and constipation, notes RxList. Other side effects include irritation of the stomach, which can cause chronic abdominal pain. This combination of medications may also result in inflammation of the pancreas, also known as pancreatitis, which can cause a sharp pain in the upper part of the abdomen which becomes worse when food is ingested. Patients may also develop intrehepatic cholestatic jaundice, which can cause yellowing of the whites of the eyes and of the skin.
There are a number of cardiovascular side effects associated with the use of triamterene and hydrochlorothiazide, Drugs.com reports. These include tachycardia, which is an elevated heart rate, and orthostatic hypotension, which is a condition in which the blood pressure drops when the patient rises suddenly from a reclining position. Both of these side effects are attributable to the loss of blood volume that these medications cause. Patients may also have problems with breathing and develop chest pain. Men taking this medication may also experience impotence, EMedTV explains, which may also be caused by the loss of fluid which could impair blood flow to the genitals.
Triamterene and hydrochlorothiazide may also cause drowsiness, fatigue and problems sleeping. Other neurological side effects include dry mouth, dizziness, headache, anxiety, tingling or numbness, restlessness and depression.
There are a number of changes in the blood that may be the result of use of triamterene and hydrochlorothiazide. These include a form of anemia known as megaloblastic anemia in which there are a large number of immature red blood cells in the circulation. Patients taking these medications may also experience a deficiency in white blood cells which can result in a weakened immune system. Thrombocytopenia, which is a decrease in the number of platelets, has also been observed, and results in a tendency to bruise or bleed more easily.
The combination of hydrochlorothiazide and triamterene can result in an itchy rash, also known as urticaria. The rash may appear similar to that caused by lupus. Anaphylaxis, a condition in which the throat swells, has also been observed. This can cause difficulty breathing, hoarseness, problems with swallowing and a life-threatening condition known as anaphylactic shock. Patients taking these medications may also find that their skin is more sensitive to the sun, EMedTV reports.