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What Factors Affect Hydrochlorothiazide Dosage?

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may require an increased hydrochlorothiazide dosage.
Hydrochlorothiazide is typically used to treat high blood pressure.
Article Details
  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 29 August 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Hydrochlorothiazide dosage is affected by factors like the patient’s medical condition and response to the medication. Age or the presence of other health issues may impact what is considered to be a safe amount. Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) may also interact with other medications, which can influence how much of the drug should be prescribed.

HCTZ often treats water retention and is most commonly used for conditions like hypertension, or high blood pressure, and edema. In some instances, it may be prescribed for complications of osteoporosis or diabetes insipidus. Additionally, the drug might be recommended for nephrocalcinosis, which causes excess calcium deposits in the kidneys.

For all of these conditions, hydrochlorothiazide starts with an initiation dose, which is usually 25 milligrams (mg) in the absence of other factors. In edema, nephrocalcinosis, and diabetes, the dose may climb to a maximum of 100 mg daily. Hypertension and osteoporosis on the other hand typically aren’t treated with a hydrochlorothiazide dosage that exceeds 50 mg per day.

The exact amount patients take depends on how they are responding to the medication. Increasing hydrochlorothiazide dosage only makes sense if the drug is not working effectively. Larger doses tend to increase the risk of serious side effects; most particularly they may cause severe imbalances in electrolytes.

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Urine and blood testing are used to precisely analyze the drug’s effects because they can catch small changes to electrolytes before a patient is symptomatic. Based on these findings, doctors can determine if a dose increase or reduction is required. If a patient still has complicated side effects on a minimum dose, some doctors shift their strategies. They might prescribe HCTZ on alternating days to minimize negative responses and still get patients the benefits of the drug.

Some other factors that affect hydrochlorothiazide dosage are the patient’s age and other health conditions. In general, older people require smaller doses and are more inclined to develop side effects. Patients under 18 take much smaller doses, too, if this medication is indicated. Though the safety and efficacy of the drug isn’t proven in the pediatric population, doctors might recommend 1 to 2 milligrams for each kilogram of a child’s weight. Infants can use no more than 37.5 mg per day, and children ages two to 12 might have a maximum dose of 100 mg.

Other health conditions are important to consider when determining hydrochlorothiazide dosage. An overall reduction in dose is indicated for people with significant kidney disease. In these cases, the initial dosage is usually 12.5 mg with a maximum of 50 mg. The presence of diabetes doesn’t change the dose of HCTZ, but it can require adjustments to drugs like insulin.

Some medications, such as lithium, completely contraindicate the use of HCTZ, because this combination may cause a more profound electrolyte imbalance. Other drugs need to be taken with caution. Corticosteroids and most hypertension medicines increase the side effects of HCTZ and necessitate a lower dose. Conversely, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may require an increased hydrochlorothiazide dosage.

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