Bumetanide is a 'water' tablet (diuretic).
It will make you go to the toilet more often to pass urine.Any side-effects are usually mild but may include feeling sick or dizzy.
|Type of medicine||A loop diuretic|
|Used for||Water retention (oedema)|
|Available as||Tablets and oral liquid medicine|
Bumetanide belongs to the group of medicines known as loop diuretics. A diuretic is a medicine which increases the amount of urine that you pass out from your kidneys. They are often referred to as 'water' tablets. Bumetanide is used to treat water retention (oedema), which is commonly caused by heart failure.
Heart failure is a condition where fluid accumulates in your body due to your heart not pumping blood around your body as well as it normally would. Fluid leaks out of your blood vessels, causing swelling in the tissues of your lungs, feet or ankles. This extra fluid causes you to feel breathless and tired and your feet and ankles to swell. Bumetanide prevents the build-up of this fluid by increasing the amount of urine your kidneys produce.
Before taking bumetanide
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine can only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking bumetanide it is important that your doctor knows:
- If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
- If you have any problems with the way your kidneys work, any difficulty passing urine, or if you are lacking in fluid in the body (dehydrated).
- If you have prostate problems, or any problems with the way your liver works.
- If you have gout or sugar diabetes. These conditions can be made worse by diuretics.
- If you have been told you have low sodium or potassium levels in your blood.
- If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
How to take bumetanide
- Before you start the treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. It will give you more information about bumetanide and will also provide you with a full list of side-effects which you could experience from taking it.
- Take bumetanide exactly as your doctor tells you to. Your doctor will ask you to take one, or possibly two, doses a day. The directions for taking your doses will be printed on the label of the pack to remind you about what the doctor said to you.
- Bumetanide starts to work within an hour and has an effect which lasts for about six hours. It is best taken in the morning. You might want to plan your daily routine to fit in with your doses as you will need to go to the toilet a couple of times after taking the medicine. Don't take your doses too late in the day as this could disturb your sleep.
- Swallow the tablets with a drink of water. You can take bumetanide either before or after meals.
- If you forget to take a dose of bumetanide, take it when you remember unless it is late in the day. If it is after 6 pm in the evening, leave out the missed dose completely and take your next dose when it is due on the following day. Do not take two doses at the same time to make up for a missed dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress. The balance of salts in your blood may be upset by bumetanide so your doctor may want you to have a blood test from time to time to check for this.
- Diuretics help you to lose water, so you can breathe and move more easily. If, however, you lose too much fluid, you may become dehydrated. This will make you feel thirsty and make your skin look and feel dry. Let your doctor know if this happens, as your dose may need to be adjusted.
- If you buy any medicines 'over the counter', please check with a pharmacist that they are suitable for you to take alongside your prescribed medicines.
Can bumetanide cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the ones associated with bumetanide. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.
||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Dry mouth||Try chewing sugar-free gum or sucking sugar-free sweets|
|Stomach upset||Stick to simple meals - avoid rich or spicy foods|
|Dizziness or feeling faint especially when getting up||Getting up more slowly should help. If you begin to feel dizzy, lie down so that you do not faint, then sit for a few minutes before you stand|
|Muscle cramps, joint pain, a ringing in your ears (tinnitus), skin rash, increased sensitivity to sunlight and feeling tired||If any of these become troublesome, tell your doctor|
|Changes to the results of some blood tests||Your doctor may check for these from time to time|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to the medicine, please speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.
How to store bumetanide
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
If you are due to have an operation or any dental treatment, please tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 70th Edition (Sep 2015) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.
Dr Helen Huins