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Uniretic

Pronounced: you-nih-RET-ick
Generic ingredients: Moexipril hydrochloride, Hydrochlorothiazide


Why is this drug prescribed: Uniretic combines two types of blood pressure medication. The first, moexipril hydrochloride, is an ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitor. It works by preventing a chemical in your blood called angiotensin I from converting into a more potent form (angiotensin II) that increases salt and water retention in the body and causes the blood vessels to constrict--two actions that tend to increase blood pressure. To aid in clearing excess water from the body, Uniretic also contains hydrochlorothiazide, a diuretic that promotes production of urine. Diuretics often wash too much potassium out of the body along with the water. However, the ACE inhibitor part of Uniretic tends to keep potassium in the body, thereby canceling this unwanted effect. Uniretic is not used for the initial treatment of high blood pressure. It is saved for later use, when a single blood pressure medication is not sufficient for the job.

Most important fact about this drug: You must take Uniretic regularly for it to be effective, and you must continue taking it even if you are feeling well. Like other blood pressure medications, Uniretic does not cure high blood pressure; it merely keeps it under control.

How should you take this medication: Take Uniretic once a day, 1 hour before a meal. Try not to miss any doses. Stopping Uniretic suddenly could cause a rise in blood pressure. --If you miss a dose... Take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and go back to your regular schedule. Never take 2 doses at the same time. --Storage instructions... Store at room temperature, away from moisture, in a tightly closed container.

What side effects may occur: Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Uniretic. Common side effects may include: Abdominal pain, back pain, bronchitis, chest pain, cough, diarrhea, dizziness, fatigue, fever, flu symptoms, headache, impotence, increased blood sugar, indigestion, infection, inflammation of the nasal passages, pain, rash, sinus inflammation, sore throat, swelling, tension, upper respiratory tract infection, urinary tract infection, vertigo Rare side effects may include: Constipation, difficulty breathing, dizziness upon standing, drowsiness, eczema, fainting, flushing, gynecological problems, inflammation of the digestive tract, insomnia, itching, loss of strength, low blood counts, muscle aches, nosebleed, pinkeye, pneumonia, rapid heartbeat, sweating, urinary problems

Why should this drug not be prescribed: Do not take Uniretic if you've had a severe reaction called angioedema (swelling of the face, arms, legs, and throat) to any other ACE inhibitor (for example, Capoten, Prinivil, or Zestril). Avoid this drug, too, if you've had an allergic reaction to either of its ingredients, or to any sulfa drug. (Allergic reactions to Uniretic are more likely if you have a history of allergy or bronchial asthma.) If you have problems with urination, do not take this drug.

Special warnings about this medication: Contact your doctor immediately if you develop swelling around your lips, tongue, or throat, or in your arms and legs, or if you begin to have difficulty breathing or swallowing. You may need emergency room treatment. If you have poor kidneys, use Uniretic with caution. For people with severe kidney disease, Uniretic is not recommended at all. Your doctor should test your kidney function at the start of treatment, and continue to monitor it as long as you take the drug. Uniretic can cause light-headedness, especially during the first few days of treatment. If you faint, stop taking the medication and call your doctor immediately. Uniretic can cause a severe drop in blood pressure if you lose too much liquid through excessive sweating, severe diarrhea, or vomiting. Contact your doctor immediately if you develop one of these problems. Low blood pressure is especially dangerous if you have congestive heart failure or other heart conditions. Your doctor should monitor your pressure with extra care if that's the case. This drug should be used with caution if you are on dialysis. There have been reports of extreme allergic reactions during dialysis in people taking ACE inhibitors such as the one in Uniretic. A severe reaction is also more likely if you've ever had desensitization treatments with bee or wasp venom. If you have liver disease or a disease of connective tissue called lupus erythematosus, Uniretic should be used with caution. Tell your doctor immediately if you notice a yellowish color to your skin or the whites of your eyes. While taking Uniretic, do not use potassium supplements, salt substitutes that contain potassium, or diuretics that leave potassium levels high (such as Dyrenium and Moduretic) unless your doctor recommends it. Diuretics such as the one in Uniretic sometimes leave the body with too little sodium, chloride, or potassium, leading to symptoms such as dry mouth, thirst, weakness, sluggishness, drowsiness, restlessness, muscle pain or cramps, muscular fatigue, low urine output, rapid heartbeat, nausea, and vomiting. If you develop any of these symptoms, alert your doctor. Uniretic can aggravate diabetes or high cholesterol. If you have one of these conditions, your doctor should closely monitor your blood sugar or cholesterol levels. If you develop unusual or increased coughing, tell your doctor. Contact your doctor immediately if you develop a sore throat or fever; they could be signs of a more serious illness. If you are having a surgical procedure that requires anesthesia, make sure the doctor knows that you are taking Uniretic.

Possible food and drug interactions when taking this medication: If Uniretic is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Uniretic with the following: ACTH Alcohol Barbiturates such as phenobarbital or Seconal Cholestyramine (Questran) Colestipol (Colestid) Diabetes medications such as glyburide and insulin Guanabenz (Wytensin) Lithium (Lithobid, Lithonate) Narcotics such as Percocet Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory painkillers such as Motrin and Naprosyn Potassium-sparing diuretics such as Dyrenium or Moduretic Potassium supplements such as Slow K Propantheline (Pro-Banthine) Salt substitutes containing potassium Steroid medications such as prednisone (Deltasone)

Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding: ACE inhibitors such as Uniretic have been shown to cause injury and even death of the developing baby when used during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. If you are pregnant, contact your doctor immediately for instructions on how to safely discontinue Uniretic. If you plan to become pregnant, discuss the situation with your doctor as soon as possible. Researchers do not know whether Uniretic appears in breast milk. If Uniretic is essential to your health, your doctor may advise you to stop breastfeeding while you are taking the drug.

Recommended dosage: ADULTS: Dosages of this drug are always tailored to the individual's response. The doctor will probably start with a relatively low dosage, then after 2 or 3 weeks adjust it upward if necessary. In general, the daily dose of moexipril should not exceed 30 milligrams. For hydrochlorothiazide, the maximum is 50 milligrams a day. Your doctor may prescribe other blood pressure medications along with Uniretic. CHILDREN: The safety and effectiveness of Uniretic have not been established in children.

Overdosage: Any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. If you suspect an overdose, seek medical attention immediately. Symptoms of Uniretic overdose are likely to include: Low blood pressure, dehydration (loss of body fluids), low levels of sodium, potassium, and chloride









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