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Ethacrynic acid (By mouth)

Ethacrynic Acid (eth-a-KRIN-ik AS-id)

Treats edema (swelling caused when your body holds on to too much water). This medicine is a diuretic ("water pill").

Brand Name(s):


There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

You should not use this medicine if you have ever had an allergic reaction to ethacrynic acid. Do not use this medicine if you are not passing any urine. You should not use this medicine if you have had severe, watery diarrhea caused by ethacrynic acid in the past.

How to Use This Medicine:


  • Take your medicine as directed. Your dose may need to be changed several times to find what works best for you.
  • Drink extra fluids so you will urinate more often and help prevent kidney problems.

If a dose is missed:

  • Take a dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then and take a regular dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine:

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are using lithium, or a heart medicine called digoxin, Lanoxin®, or Digitek®. Tell your doctor if you are using certain antibiotics, such as Ceclor®, Keflex®, Amidin®, or Garamycin®, or steroids, such as dexamethasone, prednisolone, prednisone, or Medrol®.
  • Tell your doctor if you are using medicine to lower blood pressure. Some blood pressure medicines are atenolol, hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ), lisinopril, metoprolol, quinapril, Accupril®, Cozaar®, Diovan®, Lotrel®, Norvasc®, Toprol®, or Zestril®. The amount of blood pressure medicine that you are taking may need to be changed.
  • Tell your doctor if you are using a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin®). The amount of blood thinning medicine that you are taking may need to be changed. You should also tell your doctor if you are taking pain or arthritis medicine, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, Advil®, Aleve®, or Celebrex®.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant, or breast feeding, or if you have heart disease, severe kidney disease or cirrhosis (a liver disease).
  • You may need to weigh yourself daily and record your weight.
  • Your doctor will do lab tests at regular visits to check on the effects of this medicine. Keep all appointments.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Bloody or black stools.
  • Chest pain, shortness of breath, or coughing up blood.
  • Confusion, weakness, uneven heartbeat, shortness of breath, or numbness or tingling in your hands, feet, or lips.
  • Dry mouth, increased thirst, muscle cramps.
  • Numbness or weakness in your arm or leg, or on one side of your body.
  • Pain in your lower leg (calf).
  • Sudden or severe headache, problems with vision, speech, or walking.
  • Vomiting bloody or black vomit, or vomit that looks like coffee grounds.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Belly pain, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Dizziness, hearing loss, or ringing in ears.
  • Headache, fatigue, nervousness, or confusion.
  • Joint pain, such as pain in one of the big toes.
  • Lightheadedness or fainting.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Skin rash, fever, chills, or blood in urine.
  • Swallowing problems.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Last Updated: 5/1/2020

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites.

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