Diurexan tablets contain the active ingredient xipamide, which is a type of medicine known as a thiazide-related diuretic.
Diuretics are sometimes referred to as 'water tablets'. They remove excess fluid from the body by increasing the production of urine.
Diuretics act in the kidneys. They work by causing the kidneys to increase the amount of salts, such as potassium and sodium, that are filtered out of the blood and into the urine. When these salts are filtered out of the blood by the kidneys, they draw water alongside them. As diuretics increase the removal of salts from the blood, they also cause more water to be drawn out of the blood and into the urine.
Removing water from the blood decreases the volume of fluid circulating through the blood vessels. This subsequently decreases the pressure within the blood vessels. Diuretics such as xipamide can therefore be used to lower high blood pressure.
Xipamide is also used to treat conditions where excess fluid has been retained in the body (oedema). For example, in heart failure, the pumping mechanism of the heart is less effective. This can cause fluid to build up in the ankles and the lungs (pulmonary oedema), which makes it difficult to breathe. Xipamide helps the body to remove this excess fluid. Removing fluid from the blood vessels also decreases the pressure within the blood vessels. This makes it easier for a weak heart to pump blood around the body.
Xipamide can also be used to remove excess fluid that accumulates in the body in people with conditions such as kidney disease or cirrhosis of the liver. In liver cirrhosis this fluid may accumulate in the abdomen (ascites) or in the legs (oedema).
This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy.
If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.
Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.
Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine. Just because a side effect is stated here, it does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.
The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the medicine's manufacturer.
For more information about any other possible risks associated with this medicine, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.
It is important to tell your doctor or pharmacist what medicines you are already taking, including those bought without a prescription and herbal medicines, before you start treatment with this medicine. Similarly, check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any new medicines while taking this one, to make sure that the combination is safe.
This medicine is likely to have an additive effect with other medicines that decrease blood pressure, particularly medicines that are used to treat high blood pressure (antihypertensives). This may cause dizziness, which can usually be relieved by lying down until the symptoms pass. If you feel dizzy while taking this medicine in combination with other medicines that can lower blood pressure you should let your doctor know, as your doses may need adjusting. Other medicines that decrease blood pressure include the following:
Xipamide can decrease the amount of potassium in the blood. If it is used in combination with any of the following medicines, which can also lower potassium in the blood, the risk of a low blood potassium level (hypokalaemia) is increased:
If the level of potassium in your blood falls during treatment, this can increase the risk of side effects on the heart from various other medicines, including digoxin, certain antipsychotics and medicines for abnormal heart rhythms (anti-arrhythmics), eg amiodarone.
Diuretics can sometimes increase blood glucose levels and people with diabetes may therefore need increases in their dose of insulin or antidiabetic tablets while taking this medicine. If you have diabetes you should talk to your doctor about this. You may need to monitor your blood sugar levels more frequently.
Xipamide reduces the ability of the body to remove the medicine lithium, which can cause the level of lithium in the blood to rise too high. If you are taking lithium your lithium level should be checked after you start and stop treatment with this medicine, as well as after any dose changes. Your lithium dose may need adjusting.
The following medicines may reduce the blood pressure lowering effect of this medicine:
There are currently no other medicines available in the UK that contain xipamide as the active ingredient.