Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) medications are used in combination with other medications for the treatment of high blood pressure (hypertension). HCTZ is classified under the category of drugs called thiazide diuretics (water pills). These are prescription-only medications. These medicines are available as generic drugs and they come in the form of tablets or capsules for oral consumption.
High blood pressure or hypertension is a condition that causes the blood to flow through the arteries under high pressure on a consistent basis, which can cause damage to the arteries and organs. This happens because of excessive water retention. However, the medicine belongs under thiazide diuretics, which remove excess salt and water from the body, thereby reducing blood pressure and ensuring the healthy functioning of the organs.
Apart from treating hypertension, these medicines are also used to reduce the swelling caused by heart failure, kidney dysfunction, liver damage (cirrhosis), and due to the side effects of certain types of medications. The effects of medicine reduce the swelling along with eliminating extra fluid and salt by causing frequent urination.
After taking the tablet, it takes 2 hours for its complete assimilation in the body, and once it becomes active in the bloodstream, the effects remain for around 6 to 12 hours. You must follow your doctor’s direction and guidance on the dosing regimen. Also, do not stop using the medicine if you feel better, doing so will affect the results.
Hydrochlorothiazide side effects
According to the Medical News Today website, the medicine can give rise to mild or serious side effects. Some common side effects after taking the medicine are given below:
- Low blood pressure
- Tingling sensation in hands, feet, and legs
- Photosensitivity (skin becomes highly sensitive to the sun)
- Erectile dysfunction
- Muscle spasms
These are some mild symptoms that you might develop and they will go away within a few days or a week. If they continue to bother you and become severe then you must see your doctor and discuss your symptoms.
Besides, some people might experience serious symptoms of the medicine. These symptoms are as follows:
- Kidney failure – indicated by symptoms such as shortness of breath, tiredness, confusion, weakness, abnormal heart rate, chest pain, decreased urine flow, and swelling in the ankles, legs, and feet.
- Skin reactions – indicated by fever, painful skin rashes, skin peelings, blisters, and mouth sores.
- Vision problems – Eye pain and blurred vision.
- Pancreatitis – indicated by stomach pain, upset stomach, vomiting, or back pain.
Hydrochlorothiazide and erectile dysfunction
According to some research, higher doses of thiazide diuretics can lead to erectile dysfunction problems among men. The medicine can constrict the blood vessels of the penile, and as a result, the passages of the blood vessels become narrow. This narrowing prevents effective blood transmission inside the penile shaft. Lack of blood supply to the penile affects the ability to get and sustain erections.
Although there is no clear evidence that can confirm that these medicines contribute to erectile dysfunction, the best thing is to talk to your doctor and get to know about the effects of these medicines on the erection function.