"What are diuretics and how do they work?
The amount of fluid (water) retained by the body is controlled primarily by the kidneys. This occurs due to the kidney's ability to control the retention and elimination of sodium and chlorid"...
The effects of EDECRIN (ethacrynic acid) on electrolytes are related to its renal pharmacologic activity and are dose dependent. The possibility of profound electrolyte and water loss may be avoided by weighing the patient throughout the treatment period, by careful adjustment of dosage, by initiating treatment with small doses, and by using the drug on an intermittent schedule when possible. When excessive diuresis occurs, the drug should be withdrawn until homeostasis is restored. When excessive electrolyte loss occurs, the dosage should be reduced or the drug temporarily withdrawn.
Initiation of diuretic therapy with EDECRIN (ethacrynic acid) in the cirrhotic patient with ascites is best carried out in the hospital. When maintenance therapy has been established, the individual can be satisfactorily followed as an outpatient.
EDECRIN (ethacrynic acid) should be given with caution to patients with advanced cirrhosis of the liver, particularly those with a history of previous episodes of electrolyte imbalance or hepatic encephalopathy. Like other diuretics it may precipitate hepatic coma and death.
Too vigorous a diuresis, as evidenced by rapid and excessive weight loss, may induce an acute hypotensive episode. In elderly cardiac patients, rapid contraction of plasma volume and the resultant hemoconcentration should be avoided to prevent the development of thromboembolic episodes, such as cerebral vascular thromboses and pulmonary emboli which may be fatal. Excessive loss of potassium in patients receiving digitalis glycosides may precipitate digitalis toxicity. Care should also be exercised in patients receiving potassium-depleting steroids.
A number of possibly drug-related deaths have occurred in critically ill patients refractory to other diuretics. These generally have fallen into two categories: (1) patients with severe myocardial disease who have been receiving digitalis and presumably developed acute hypokalemia with fatal arrhythmia; (2) patients with severely decompensated hepatic cirrhosis with ascites, with or without accompanying encephalopathy, who were in electrolyte imbalance and died because of intensification of the electrolyte defect.
Deafness, tinnitus, and vertigo with a sense of fullness in the ears have occurred, most frequently in patients with severe impairment of renal function. These symptoms have been associated most often with intravenous administration and with doses in excess of those recommended. The deafness has usually been reversible and of short duration (one to 24 hours). However, in some patients the hearing loss has been permanent. A number of these patients were also receiving drugs known to be ototoxic. EDECRIN (ethacrynic acid) may increase the ototoxic potential of other drugs (see PRECAUTIONS: DRUG INTERACTIONS).
Weakness, muscle cramps, paresthesias, thirst, anorexia, and signs of hyponatremia, hypokalemia, and/or hypochloremic alkalosis may occur following vigorous or excessive diuresis and these may be accentuated by rigid salt restriction. Rarely, tetany has been reported following vigorous diuresis. During therapy with ethacrynic acid, liberalization of salt intake and supplementary potassium chloride are often necessary.
When a metabolic alkalosis may be anticipated, e.g., in cirrhosis with ascites, the use of potassium chloride or a potassium-sparing agent before and during therapy with EDECRIN (ethacrynic acid) may mitigate or prevent the hypokalemia.
Orthostatic hypotension may occur in patients receiving other antihypertensive agents when given ethacrynic acid.
EDECRIN (ethacrynic acid) has little or no effect on glomerular filtration or on renal blood flow, except following pronounced reductions in plasma volume when associated with rapid diuresis. A transient increase in serum urea nitrogen may occur. Usually, this is readily reversible when the drug is discontinued.
Frequent serum electrolyte, CO2 and BUN determinations should be performed early in therapy and periodically thereafter during active diuresis. Any electrolyte abnormalities should be corrected or the drug temporarily withdrawn.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility
There was no evidence of a tumorigenic effect in a 79-week oral chronic toxicity study in rats at doses up to 45 times the human dose. Ethacrynic acid had no effect on fertility in a two-litter study in rats or a two-generation study in mice at 10 times the human dose.
In a two-litter study in the dog and rat, oral doses of 5 or 20 mg/kg/day (2½ or 10 times the human dose), respectively, did not interfere with pregnancy or with growth and development of the pups. Although there was reduction in the mean body weights of the fetuses in a teratogenic study in the rat at a dose level of 100 mg/kg (50 times the human dose), there was no effect on mortality or postnatal development. Functional and morphologic abnormalities were not observed.
There are, however, no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Since animal reproduction studies are not always predictive of human response, EDECRIN (ethacrynic acid) should be used during pregnancy only if clearly needed.
It is not known whether this drug is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk and because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants from EDECRIN (ethacrynic acid) , a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or to discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother.
There are no well-controlled clinical trials in pediatric patients. The information on oral dosing in pediatric patients, other than infants, is supported by evidence from empiric use in this age group. For information on oral use in pediatric patients, other than infants, see INDICATIONS and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION.
Safety and effectiveness of intravenous use in pediatric patients have not been established (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, Intravenous Use).
Of the total number of subjects in clinical studies of EDECRIN (ethacrynic acid) /SODIUM EDECRIN (ethacrynic acid) , approximately 224 patients (21%) were 65 to 74 years of age, while approximately 100 patients (9%) were 75 years of age and over. No overall differences in safety or effectiveness were observed between these subjects and younger subjects, and other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients, but greater sensitivity of some older individuals cannot be ruled out. (See WARNINGS.)
This drug is known to be substantially excreted by the kidney, and the risk of toxic reactions to this drug may be greater in patients with impaired renal function. Because elderly patients are more likely to have decreased renal function, care should be taken in dose selection, and it may be useful to monitor renal function. (See CONTRAINDICATIONS.)
Last reviewed on RxList: 7/3/2008
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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