What Is Chlorothiazide Used For?

Chlorothiazide for Water Retention
One common cause of water retention is congestive heart failure (CHF). Congestive heart failure is a condition where the heart cannot pump enough blood throughout the body. It does not mean that your heart has stopped or is about to stop working. It means that your heart is not able to pump blood the way that it should. This can lead to symptoms of CHF that include shortness of breath; swelling of the feet, ankles, or lower legs; and rapid weight gain (see Symptoms of Congestive Heart Failure for more information).
There are many other causes for fluid retention, including kidney failure (renal failure), cirrhosis, estrogens, and corticosteroids.
Chlorothiazide can help with water retention by helping the body get rid of the extra fluid. It is approved to treat water retention (edema) when used along with other medications, including other congestive heart failure medications. Chlorothiazide does not cure congestive heart failure or other conditions that cause the body to retain fluid.

How Does Chlorothiazide Work?

Chlorothiazide is a diuretic, which is commonly referred to as a "water pill." It works by increasing the amount of salt and water that the kidneys remove from the blood. This extra salt and water is passed out through urine. By increasing the amount of water removed from the blood, chlorothiazide causes a decrease in blood volume. Because of this effect, chlorothiazide can lower blood pressure and can also help with water retention.

Chlorothiazide Use in Children

Chlorothiazide has not been thoroughly studied in children or infants. However, the manufacturer of chlorothiazide does provide dosing information for children and infants (see Chlorothiazide Dosing), suggesting that the drug can be used in children and infants. Talk to your healthcare provider about the benefits and risks of using chlorothiazide in children or infants.
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