Generic Name: ethacrynic acid
Product Name: Edecrin
Indication: What Edecrin is used for
Edecrin helps to reduce the amount of fluid in the body for people who have:
- Swelling of the ankles, feet and legs, which is called oedema;
- Fluid accumulation in the lungs, which is called pulmonary oedema;
- Fluid accumulation in the stomach area (which is also called ascites) due to liver disease.
Edecrin is also used in children, over 2 years old, to remove fluid that occurs in some heart and kidney conditions.
Ask your doctor if you have any questions about why this medicine has been prescribed for you. Your doctor may have prescribed it for another reason.
This medicine is not addictive.
Action: How Edecrin works
Edecrin belongs to a group of medicines called diuretics or fluid tablets. It works by making your kidneys pass more water and salt from the body.
Experimental studies indicate that ethacrynic acid influences both the diluting and concentrating mechanisms of the kidney. By inhibiting active sodium reabsorption in the ascending limb of the loop of Henle, as well as elsewhere in the nephron, it depresses reversibly the operation of the diluting mechanism and diminishes the increasing solute gradient of the kidney from the cortex to the medulla. The concentrating mechanism of the more distal nephron, which is dependent on this osmotic gradient from the lumen to medullary interstitium is likewise diminished. The net effect is the excretion of large amounts of virtually iso-osmotic urine. This renal effect is very different from that of the thiazides, mercurials, or other diuretics, and reflects a unique mechanism of action of an ethacrynic acid.
Edecrin contains 25 mg of ethacrynic acid per tablet as the active ingredient.
It also contains the inactive ingredients lactose, magnesium stearate, colloidal anhydrous silica, maize starch, and purified talc.
This medicine does not contain sucrose, gluten, tartrazine or any other azo dyes.
Dose advice: How to use Edecrin
Before you take Edecrin
When you must not take it
Do not take Edecrin if you have an allergy to:
- Any of the ingredients listed here.
Some of the symptoms of an allergic reaction may include:
- Shortness of breath;
- Wheezing or difficulty breathing;
- Swelling of the face, lips, tongue or other parts of the body;
- Rash, itching or hives on the skin.
Do not take this medicine if you are pregnant or intend to become pregnant. Like most medicines, Edecrin is not recommended for use during pregnancy.
Do not take this medicine if you are not passing urine.
Do not give this medicine to a child under the age of two years. Safety and effectiveness in children younger than two years have not been established.
Do not take this medicine after the expiry date printed on the pack or if the packaging is torn or shows signs of tampering. If it has expired or is damaged, return it to your pharmacist for disposal.
If you are not sure whether you should start taking this medicine, talk to your doctor.
Before you start to take it
Tell your doctor if you have allergies to any other medicines, foods, preservatives or dyes.
Tell your doctor if you have or have had any of the following medical conditions:
- Liver disease;
- Heart disease.
Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Like most medicines, Edecrin is not recommended for use while breastfeeding. If it is necessary for you to take Edecrin, your doctor may ask you to stop breastfeeding.
If you have not told your doctor about any of the above, tell them before you start taking Edecrin.
Taking other medicines
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including any that you get without a prescription from your pharmacy, supermarket or health food shop.
Some medicines and Edecrin may interfere with each other. These include:
- Medicines used to treat high blood pressure;
- Certain antibiotics such as aminoglycosides;
- Warfarin, a medicine used to prevent blood clots;
- Lithium, a medicine used to treat severe mood swings;
- Corticosteroids, such as prednisone and cortisone.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure if you are taking any of these medicines. These medicines may be affected by Edecrin or may affect how well it works. You may need different amounts of your medicines, or you may need to take different medicines.
Your doctor and pharmacist have more information on medicines to be careful with or avoid while taking this medicine.
How to take Edecrin
Follow all directions given to you by your doctor or pharmacist carefully. They may differ from the information contained here.
Your doctor will tell you how many tablets you need to take each day. This depends on your condition and whether you are taking other medicines.
If you do not understand the instructions on the bottle, ask your doctor or pharmacist for help.
How much to take
For adults, the usual starting dose is two 25 mg tablets taken once a day.
Depending on your response, your doctor may increase this dose. Most people take between 50 mg and 150 mg per day, which is 2 to 6 tablets per day. If you are taking more than two tablets per day, your dose will be divided into two doses per day.
For children over 2 years of age, the usual starting dose is 25 mg (1 tablet) taken once a day.
How to take it
Swallow the tablet whole with a full glass of water.
When to take it
If you take Edecrin once a day, take it immediately after breakfast.
If you take Edecrin more than once a day, take your first dose immediately after breakfast and take your last dose no later than 6 p.m., unless your doctor tells you otherwise. Edecrin may increase the amount of water (urine) you pass and also the number of times you go to the toilet. By taking the last dose no later than 6 p.m., there may be less chance of your sleep being disturbed.
Follow the above instructions even if you don’t take Edecrin every day. Your doctor will determine whether or not you need to take Edecrin every day.
How long to take it
Continue taking your medicine for as long as your doctor tells you. This medicine helps to control your condition but does not cure it. It is important to keep taking your medicine even if you feel well.
If you forget to take it
If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the dose you missed and take your next dose when you are meant to.
Otherwise, take it as soon as you remember, and then go back to taking your medicine as you would normally.
Do not take a double dose to make up for the dose that you missed.
If you are not sure what to do, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
If you have trouble remembering to take your medicine, ask your pharmacist for some hints.
If you take too much (overdose)
Immediately telephone your doctor or the Poisons Information Centre (telephone 13 11 26) for advice, or go to Accident and Emergency at the nearest hospital, if you think that you or anyone else may have taken too much Edecrin. Do this even if there are no signs of discomfort or poisoning. You may need urgent medical attention.
If you take too many tablets, you will probably feel light-headed, dizzy, or weak, or you may faint. You may also become very thirsty, confused, have a change in the amount of urine passed, have a fast heartbeat, have muscle cramps, or feel a tingling sensation in the skin.
While you are using Edecrin
Things you must do
If you are about to be started on any new medicine, remind your doctor and pharmacist that you are taking Edecrin.
Tell any other doctors, dentists, and pharmacists who treat you that you are taking this medicine.
If you are going to have surgery (even at the dentists), that needs a general anaesthetic, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking this medicine. Your blood pressure may drop suddenly.
If you become pregnant while taking this medicine, tell your doctor immediately.
Have your blood tested when your doctor says to make sure your potassium and some other substances in the blood known as electrolytes are at the right level. Edecrin may cause a loss of water, potassium and some other electrolytes from your body. This may cause:
- Dry mouth or thirst;
- Weakness, tiredness, numbness tingling in the hands and/or feet;
- Muscle pains or cramps;
- Irregular or fast heartbeat;
- Passing less urine than normal.
Tell your doctor if you get any of these symptoms.
Your doctor may ask you to take a potassium supplement while taking Edecrin.
Keep all of your doctor’s appointments so that your progress can be checked.
Things you must not do
Do not take Edecrin to treat any other complaints unless your doctor tells you to.
Do not give your medicine to anyone else, even if they have the same condition as you.
Do not stop taking your medicine or lower the dosage without checking with your doctor.
After using Edecrin
Keep your tablets in the bottle until it is time to take them. If you take the tablets out of the bottle they may not keep well.
Keep your tablets in a cool dry place where the temperature stays below 25°C. Do not store Edecrin or any other medicine in the bathroom or near a sink. Do not leave it on a windowsill or in the car. Heat and dampness can destroy some medicines.
Keep it where children cannot reach it. A locked cupboard at least one-and-a-half metres above the ground is a good place to store medicines.
If your doctor tells you to stop taking this medicine or the expiry date has passed, ask your pharmacist what to do with any medicine that is left over.
Schedule of Edecrin
Edecrin is a prescription only medicine (Schedule 4).
Side effects of Edecrin
Tell your doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible if you do not feel well while you are taking Edecrin. This medicine helps most people with some types of fluid accumulation, but it may have unwanted side effects in a few people. All medicines can have side effects. Sometimes they are serious, most of the time they are not. You may need medical attention if you get some of the side effects.
Do not be alarmed by the following lists of side effects. You may not experience any of them.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist to answer any questions you may have.
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you notice any of the following and they worry you:
- Feeling sick, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite;
- Generally feeling unwell;
- Headache, tiredness, weakness;
- Stomach upset or pain, diarrhoea;
- Dry mouth or thirst;
- Muscle pains or cramps;
- Passing less urine than normal;
- Ringing in the ears;
- Blurred vision.
These are usually mild effects, but may be serious.
Tell your doctor as soon as possible if you notice any of the following:
- Irregular or fast heartbeat;
- Yellowing of the skin and eyes, which is also called jaundice;
- Difficulty in swallowing;
- Signs of frequent or worrying infections such as fever, severe chills, sore throat or mouth ulcers;
- Bruising more easily than normal;
- Spinning sensation, which is also called vertigo;
- Numbness or tingling in the hands and/or feet;
- Feeling anxious or confused;
- Skin rash;
- Blood in the urine.
These are serious side effects that may require medical attention. Serious side effects are rare.
Tell your doctor immediately or go to Accident and Emergency at your nearest hospital if any of the following happen:
- Vomiting blood or material that looks like coffee grounds;
- Bleeding from the back passage, black, sticky bowel motions (stools) or bloody diarrhoea;
- Severe pain or tenderness in any part of the stomach;
- Seizures or fits;
These are very serious side effects. You may need urgent medical attention or hospitalisation. These side effects are rare.
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you notice anything that is making you feel unwell. Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some people.
For further information talk to your doctor.