DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME
DR HELEN COWAN, a nurse with a PhD in cardiac pharmacology, describes common medication mistakes. This week: Doubledosing diuretics
ONE hard-working patient whose job it was to take care of others often wouldn’t take her diuretics on busy days because she didn’t want to keep leaving her patients to go to the bathroom.
Diuretics — or water tablets — are prescribed for high blood pressure and help to flush salt from the body by making you urinate (excess salt raises blood pressure).
She was on furosemide, a common diuretic. But to make up for missing a tablet, she was doubledosing on other days.
That can cause torrential urine flow with the risk of a massive loss of potassium, and in turn damage to the heart, muscles and brain.
It may cause a loss of magnesium, key for a regular heartbeat and normal blood pressure.