Lasix (furosemide) vs. Edecrin (ethacrynic acid): What’s the difference?
- Lasix and Edecrin are diuretics (water pills) used to treat excess accumulation of fluid or swelling of the body (edema) caused by heart failure, kidney disease, chronic kidney failure, or liver disease. Lasix and Edecrin are also used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension).
- Lasix is a brand name for furosemide.
- Edecrin and Sodium Edecrin are brand names for ethacrynic acid.
- Side effects of Lasix and Edecrin that are similar include dizziness and diarrhea.
- Side effects of Lasix that are different from Edecrin include low blood pressure, dehydration, electrolyte depletion, yellowing skin and eyes (jaundice), ringing in the ears, sensitivity to light, rash, pancreatitis, nausea, abdominal pain, increased blood sugar, and increased uric acid levels.
- Side effects of Edecrin that are different from Lasix include lightheadedness, headache, blurred vision, stomach upset, mild weakness, tiredness, and an increase in the amount of urine.
What are Lasix and Edecrin?
Lasix is a potent “loop” diuretic (water pill) that is used to help eliminate water and salt from the body. Salt (composed of sodium and chloride), water, and other small molecules normally are filtered out of the blood by the kidneys and into the tubules of the kidney. The filtered fluid becomes urine. Most of the salt and water filtered out of the blood become reabsorbed into the blood before it becomes urine and is eliminated from the body. Lasix works by blocking the absorption of sodium, chloride, and water from the filtered fluid in the kidney tubules, causing a significant increase in urine output (called diuresis).
Edecrin is a diuretic (water pill) that increases the amount of urine you make. This helps your body get rid of extra water. This medication decreases swelling/fluid retention (edema) caused by conditions such as cancer, congestive heart failure, liver disease, and kidney disease. This effect can help improve symptoms such as trouble breathing and swollen belly (ascites) and improve kidney function. Edecrin may be used to treat high blood pressure in people who are allergic to other diuretics (water pills).
In the U.S., 1 in every 4 deaths is caused by heart disease.
What are the side effects of Lasix and Edecrin?
Common side effects of Lasix are:
- Low blood pressure
- Electrolyte depletion (for example, sodium, potassium)
Other important side effects include:
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
- Abdominal pain
Increased blood sugar and uric acid levels also may occur.
The following side effects may occur:
This medication will cause an increase in the amount of urine. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
This drug is a strong "water pill" (diuretic). Using too much of this drug can lead to serious water and mineral loss (dehydration). Tell your doctor immediately if you have any of these unlikely but serious symptoms of dehydration:
- Loss of appetite
- Severe dizziness/fainting
- Unusual dry mouth/thirst
- Severe headache
- Fast/irregular heartbeat
- Muscle cramps/spasms
- Decrease in amount of urine
- Unusual weakness/tiredness
Tell your doctor immediately if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur:
- Easy bleeding/bruising
- Black/bloody stools
- Severe watery diarrhea
- Signs of infection (e.g., fever, persistent sore throat)
- Ringing in the ear
- Feeling of spinning (vertigo)
- Hearing loss
- Mental/mood changes (e.g., extreme sleepiness)
- Pain/redness/new swelling of arms/legs
- Stomach/abdominal pain
- Large change in the amount of urine
- Dark urine
- Vomit that looks like coffee grounds
- Yellowing eyes/skin
Seek immediate medical attention if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur:
- Chest pain
- Weakness on one side of the body
- Slurred speech
- Vision changes
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including:
- Itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat)
- Severe dizziness
- Trouble breathing
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What is the dosage of Lasix vs. Edecrin?
- The usual starting oral dose for treatment of edema in adults is 20 to 80 mg as a single dose. The same dose or an increased dose may be administered 6 to 8 hours later. Doses may be increased by 20 to 40 mg every 6 to 8 hours until the desired effect occurs. The effective dose may be administered once or twice daily. Some patients may require 600 mg daily.
- The starting oral dose for children is 2 mg/kg. The starting dose may be increased by 1 to 2 mg/kg every 6 hours until the desired effect is achieved. Doses greater than 6 mg/kg are not recommended.
- The recommended dose for treating hypertension is 40 mg twice daily. The dose of other blood pressure medications should be reduced by half when Lasix is added.
- Take this medication by mouth, usually once or twice a day after a meal or as directed by your doctor.
- It is best to avoid taking this medication within 4 hours of your bedtime to avoid having to get up to urinate.
- Consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions about your dosing schedule. The dosage is based on your condition and response to therapy.
- Your doctor may start you on a low dose once a day and then gradually increase the dose. Your doctor will adjust your dose based on changes in your weight, how much swelling (edema) you have, and your lab test results (sodium, potassium, acid/base).
- Your doctor may stop the drug or lower the dose after most of the extra water is gone. Some people may take this medication every other day or occasionally when needed. Follow your doctor's directions carefully.
- Take this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time(s) each day.
What drugs interact with Lasix and Edecrin?
- Administration of Lasix with aminoglycoside antibiotics (for example, gentamicin) or another diuretic like Edecrin may cause hearing damage.
- Lasix competes with aspirin for elimination in the urine by the kidneys. Concomitant use of Lasix and aspirin may, therefore, lead to high blood levels of aspirin and aspirin toxicity.
- Lasix also may reduce excretion of lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid) by the kidneys, causing increased blood levels of lithium and possible side effects from lithium.
- Sucralfate (Carafate) reduces the action of Lasix by binding Lasix in the intestine and preventing its absorption into the body. Ingestion of Lasix and sucralfate should be separated by two hours.
- When combined with other antihypertensive drugs, there is an increased risk of low blood pressure or reduced kidney function.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) — for example, ibuprofen, indomethacin (Indocin, Indocin-SR) — may interfere with the blood pressure-reducing effect of Lasix.
If you are currently using any of the following medications, tell your doctor or pharmacist before starting Edecrin. This drug should not be used with the following medications because a very serious interaction may occur:
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and nonprescription/herbal products you may use, especially of:
- High blood pressure medications
- Drugs for gout (uricosurics such as probenecid, sulfinpyrazone)
Check the labels on all your medicines because they may contain ingredients that could increase your blood pressure or worsen your heart failure, such as:
Are Lasix and Edecrin safe to use while pregnant or breastfeeding?
- Lasix is secreted in breast milk. Nursing mothers should avoid breastfeeding while taking Lasix.
- During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
- It is unknown if this drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.