2011501939 Health Library | Health and Wellness | Wellmont Health System
  • Methyldopa

    (meth ill doe' pa)

    WHY is this medicine prescribed?

    Methyldopa is used to treat high blood pressure. Methyldopa is in a class of medications called antihypertensives. It works by relaxing the blood vessels so that blood can flow more easily through the body.

    HOW should this medicine be used?

    Methyldopa comes as a tablet and a liquid to take by mouth. It usually is taken two to four times a day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take methyldopa exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
    Shake the liquid well before each dose to mix the medication evenly. Use a dose-measuring spoon or cup to measure the correct amount of liquid for each dose, not a regular household spoon.
    Methyldopa controls high blood pressure but does not cure it. Continue to take methyldopa even if you feel well. Do not stop taking methyldopa without talking to your doctor. If you suddenly stop taking methyldopa, your blood pressure may increase and you may experience side effects. Your doctor will decrease your dose gradually.

    Are there OTHER USES for this medicine?

    This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

    What SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS should I follow?

    Before taking methyldopa,
    • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to methyldopa, any other medications, sulfites, or any of the ingredients in methyldopa tablets or liquid. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
    • tell your doctor if you are taking a monoamine oxidase (MAOs) inhibitor such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar), and tranylcypromine (Parnate), Your doctor will probably tell you not to take methyldopa.
    • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: haloperidol (Haldol), levodopa (Larodopa, Sinemet), lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid), other medications for high blood pressure, and tolbutamide (Orinase). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
    • do not take with iron supplements or vitamins containing iron.
    • tell you doctor if you have or have ever had kidney or liver disease, including hepatitis or cirrhosis.
    • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking methyldopa, call your doctor.
    • talk to your doctor about the risks of taking methyldopa if you are 65 years of age or older. Older adults should not usually take methyldopa because it is not as safe as other medications that can be used to treat the same condition.
    • if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking methyldopa.
    • you should know that this medication may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery for 48-72 hours after you begin to take methyldopa or after your dose is increased.

    What SPECIAL DIETARY instructions should I follow?

    Your doctor may prescribe a low-salt or low-sodium diet. Follow these directions carefully.

    What should I do IF I FORGET to take a dose?

    Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

    What SIDE EFFECTS can this medicine cause?

    Methyldopa may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
    • drowsiness
    • headache
    • muscle weakness
    • swollen ankles or feet
    • upset stomach
    • vomiting
    • diarrhea
    • gas
    • dry mouth
    • rash
    Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
    • unexplained fever
    • extreme tiredness
    • yellowing of the skin or eyes
    Methyldopa may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while you are taking this medication.
    If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch ] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].

    What should I know about STORAGE and DISPOSAL of this medication?

    Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store tablets at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). The liquid may be stored in the refrigerator or at room temperature. Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

    What should I do in case of OVERDOSE?

    In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.

    What OTHER INFORMATION should I know?

    Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your blood pressure should be checked regularly to determine your response to methyldopa. Your doctor may order certain lab tests to monitor your red blood cell count and liver function.
    Methyldopa may cause your urine to darken when it is exposed to air. This effect is harmless.
    Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
    It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.

    Brand Names

    • Aldochlor® 250
    • Aldoril®

    Chlorothiazide

    (klor oh thye' a zide)

    WHY is this medicine prescribed?

    Chlorothiazide, a 'water pill,' is used to treat high blood pressure and fluid retention caused by various conditions, including heart disease. It causes the kidneys to get rid of unneeded water and salt from the body into the urine.
    This medicine is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

    HOW should this medicine be used?

    Chlorothiazide comes as a tablet and liquid to take by mouth. It usually is taken once or twice a day. If you are to take it once a day, take it in the morning; if you are to take it twice a day, take it in the morning and in the late afternoon to avoid going to the bathroom during the night. Take this medication with meals or a snack. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take chlorothiazide exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
    Chlorothizide controls high blood pressure but does not cure it. Continue to take chlorothiazide even if you feel well. Do not stop taking chlorothiazide without talking to your doctor.

    Are there OTHER USES for this medicine?

    Chlorothiazide may also be used to treat patients with diabetes insipidus and certain electrolyte disturbances and to prevent kidney stones in patients with high levels of calcium in their blood. Talk to your doctor about the possible risks of using this medicine for your condition.

    What SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS should I follow?

    Before taking chlorothiazide,
    • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to chlorothiazide, sulfa drugs, or any other drugs.
    • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially other medications for high blood pressure, anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Nuprin) or naproxen (Aleve), corticosteroids (e.g., prednisone), lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid), medications for diabetes, probenecid (Benemid), and vitamins. If you also are taking cholestyramine or colestipol, take it at least 1 hour after chlorothiazide.
    • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had diabetes, gout, or kidney, liver, thyroid, or parathyroid disease.
    • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking chlorothiazide, call your doctor immediately.
    • if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking chlorothiazide.
    • plan to avoid unnecessary or prolonged exposure to sunlight and to wear protective clothing, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Chlorothiazide may make your skin sensitive to sunlight.

    What SPECIAL DIETARY instructions should I follow?

    Follow your doctor's directions. They may include following a daily exercise program or a low-salt or low-sodium diet, potassium supplements, and increased amounts of potassium-rich foods (e.g., bananas, prunes, raisins, and orange juice) in your diet.

    What should I do IF I FORGET to take a dose?

    Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

    What SIDE EFFECTS can this medicine cause?

    Frequent urination should go away after you take chlorothiazide for a few weeks. If you are dizzy or lightheaded when getting up, rise slowly from a lying or sitting position.
    Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
    • muscle weakness
    • dizziness
    • cramps
    • thirst
    • stomach pain
    • upset stomach
    • vomiting
    • diarrhea
    • loss of appetite
    • headache
    • hair loss
    If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
    • sore throat with fever
    • unusual bleeding or bruising
    • severe skin rash with peeling skin
    • difficulty breathing or swallowing
    If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch ] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].

    What should I know about STORAGE and DISPOSAL of this medication?

    Keep this medicine in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Do not let the oral liquid freeze. Throw away any medicine that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medicine.

    What should I do in case of OVERDOSE?

    In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.

    What OTHER INFORMATION should I know?

    Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your blood pressure should be checked regularly, and blood tests should be done occasionally.
    Do not let anyone else take your medicine. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
    It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.

    Brand Names

    • Chlotride®
    • Diuril®
    • Aldochlor® (as a combination product containing Chlorothiazide, Methyldopa)
    • Diupres® (as a combination product containing Chlorothiazide, Reserpine)
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