Doctors typically prescribe triamterene and hydrochlorothiazide to reduce fluid retention, known as edema, caused by conditions such as congestive heart failure and cirrhosis, according to Drugs.com. These medications prevent the body from absorbing excess salt.
Triamterene and hydrochlorothiazide are two types of diuretics, which increase urine production to help the body purge excess sodium, states WebMD. Diuretics also prevent symptoms of fluid retention, such as swelling in the limbs and abdomen. Triamterene is a potassium-sparing diuretic, so it simultaneously prevents the kidneys from expelling too much of this essential nutrient. Hydrochlorothiazide is a common medication for high blood pressure, or hypertension, while triamterene is often used to supplement another hypertension drug.
Doctors may prescribe these oral drugs to counteract edema caused by a treatment plan, such as taking estrogen or steroid-based medications, explains Drugs.com. For both medications, patients are advised to inform their doctors if they are breastfeeding or have a history of kidney disease, liver disease or gout. Doctors may also avoid prescribing hydrochlorothiazide to people with glaucoma, asthma, penicillin allergies or diabetes, while triamterene may not be recommended for people with high potassium levels, heart disease or urination problems. Muscle pain or weakness, numbness, fast or uneven heartbeat, drowsiness and nausea are possible side effects of both drugs.