Dyazide Drug Side Effects

Dyazide is a medication made from combining two other drugs called triamterene and hydrochlorothiazide. These two agents are diuretics, which are drugs that help maintain fluid balance in the body. Extra fluid is eliminated while essential electrolytes like potassium are preserved. Dyazide is used to treat high blood pressure and edema, or swelling, associated with congestive heart failure. Dyazide side effects are seen in multiple body systems.

Nausea

The triamterene portion of Dyazide commonly causes nausea. To reduce this symptom, Dyazide should be taken with food or following meals. Preferably, Dyazide should be taken with or immediately after breakfast so that the diuretic effects will not keep patients up during the night.

Hypotension

Billie Ann Wilson, Ph.D., Margaret Shannon, Ph.D., and Kelly Shields, Pharm.D., authors of “Pearson Nurse’s Drug Guide 2010”, discuss how Dyazide can cause significant low blood pressure, called hypotension. During initial phases of therapy, blood pressure should be closely monitored to see how a patient is tolerating the drug. Position changes may cause noticeable low blood pressure symptoms such as dizziness and feeling faint. This is called orthostatic hypotension. One remedy is to changes positions slowly. A person taking Dyazide should keep a blood pressure log and report readings and any associated symptoms to his provider. If hypotension does not resolve on its own or is too severe, the dose of Dyazide may need to be adjusted.

Electrolyte Disturbances

The National Institutes of Health warns that Dyazide can lead to electrolyte disturbances, especially hyperkalemia, an abnormal elevation of potassium levels in the blood. Potassium plays a crucial role in the stabilization of heart rate and rhythm. Elevated levels of potassium can lead to arrhythmias, or irregular heart rhythms. Other electrolyte disturbances can occur as well. Sodium and calcium may be affected. Altered blood levels of these electrolytes can cause muscle weakness and muscle cramps. Patients should report any of these symptoms to the prescribing doctor so that blood work can be performed to check electrolyte levels.

Arrhythmias

A serious Dyazide drug side effect is arrhythmia, or irregular heart rhythms. Because triamterene helps remove extra fluid from the body by decreasing elimination of potassium, hyperkalemia may result. This can lead to serious arrhythmias such as ventricular tachycardia, which is a very fast heart rate that does not allow the heart to pump enough blood throughout the body.

Anaphylaxis

Anaphylaxis, a systemic allergic reaction, is a potentially lethal Dyazide drug side effect. Because there are multiple components to this medication, patients may experience allergic sensitivity to either drug or to the inactive ingredients contained in the pill. Seek medical care immediately if you experience any sign of rash, shortness of breath, swelling of the lips, tongue or face or if you are feeling faint.

About this Author

Patricia Nevins is a registered nurse with nearly 20 years of nursing experience. She obtained her Master of Science in nursing with a focus in education from the University of Phoenix. Nevins shares her passion for healthy living through her roles as educator, nursing consultant and writer.