Triamterene: Uses, Side Effects

Triamterene is a potassium-sparing diuretic (water pill) that prevents your body from absorbing too much salt and keeps your potassium levels from getting too low.

Triamterene is used to treat fluid retention (edema) in people with congestive heart failure, cirrhosis of the liver, or a kidney condition called nephrotic syndrome.

Triamterene is also used to treat edema caused by using steroid medicine or having too much aldosterone in your body. Aldosterone is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands to help regulate the salt and water balance in your body.

Important information

You should not use triamterene if you have severe kidney or liver disease, urination problems, or high levels of potassium in your blood.

You should not take triamterene if you also take potassium supplements, or other diuretics such as amiloride or spironolactone.

Call your doctor right away if you have signs of hyperkalemia (high potassium), such as nausea, slow or unusual heart rate, weakness, or loss of movement. You may be more likely to have high potassium if you have kidney disease, diabetes, a severe illness, or if you an older adult.

Avoid drinking alcohol, which can increase some of the side effects of triamterene.

Avoid a diet high in salt. Too much salt will cause your body to retain water and can make this medication less effective.

Do not use salt substitutes or low-sodium milk products that contain potassium. These products could cause your potassium levels to get too high while you are taking triamterene.

Avoid becoming overheated or dehydrated during exercise and in hot weather. Follow your doctor’s instructions about the type and amount of liquids you should drink. In some cases, drinking too much liquid can be as unsafe as not drinking enough.

Triamterene can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use triamterene if you are allergic to it, or if you have:

  • severe kidney disease, or if you are unable to urinate;
  • severe liver disease;
  • high potassium levels (hyperkalemia); or
  • if you take potassium supplements, or another potassium-sparing diuretic such as amiloride (Midamor) or spironolactone (Aldactone).

To make sure triamterene is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • diabetes;
  • heart disease;
  • kidney disease;
  • liver disease;
  • gout; or
  • a history of kidney stones.

Using triamterene may increase your risk of developing hyperkalemia (high levels of potassium in your blood). You may be more likely to have high potassium if you have kidney disease, diabetes, a severe illness, or if you an older adult.

It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

It is not known whether triamterene passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.

Triamterene is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.

Side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to triamterene: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor right away if you have signs of hyperkalemia (high potassium), such as nausea, slow or unusual heart rate, weakness, or loss of movement.

Stop using triamterene and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • pale skin, easy bruising or bleeding;
  • slow, fast, or uneven heartbeat;
  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
  • little or no urination;
  • signs of a kidney stone – sudden pain in your back or side, vomiting, fever, chills, painful urination, and urine that looks, red, pink, brown, or cloudy; or
  • low potassium – leg cramps, constipation, irregular heartbeats, fluttering in your chest, increased thirst or urination, numbness or tingling, muscle weakness or limp feeling.

Common triamterene side effects may include:

  • nausea, diarrhea;
  • dizziness, headache;
  • dry mouth; or
  • feeling weak or tired.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

What other drugs will affect triamterene?

Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:

  • any other diuretic;
  • chlorpropamide;
  • lithium;
  • heart or blood pressure medicine; or
  • NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) – aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), celecoxib, diclofenac, indomethacin, meloxicam, and others.

This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with triamterene, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.


Keyword: triamterene.

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.