Also indexed as: Dyrenium
Triamterene is a potassium-sparing diuretic
(in other words, it inhibits the urinary excretion of potassium). Diuretics increase urinary
water loss from the body and are used to treat
high blood pressure, congestive heart
failure, and some kidney or liver conditions. Triamterene is available as a single agent
and in combination products.
Try these helpful products which may be beneficial if taken with this medicine
- Calcium with vitamin D
- To avoid bone loss, try taking 1,000 mg of calcium and 400 IU of vitamin D daily
- Salty foods
- Restricting dietary salt while taking triamterene might result in excessive sodium loss,
so talk to your healthcare provider before drastically reducing salt intake
These recommendations are not comprehensive and are not intended to
replace the advice of your doctor or pharmacist. Continue reading the full article for more
information on interactions with vitamins, herbs, and foods.
Interactions with Vitamins, Herbs, and Foods
In some cases, an herb or supplement may appear in more than one category, which may seem
contradictory. For clarification, read the full article for details about the summarized
| May Be Beneficial: Depletion or
interference—The medication may deplete or interfere with the absorption or
function of the nutrient. Taking these nutrients may help replenish them.
| May Be Beneficial: Side effect
reduction/prevention—Taking these supplements may help reduce the likelihood and/or
severity of a potential side effect caused by the medication.
Avoid: Adverse interaction—Avoid these supplements when taking this
medication because taking them together may cause undesirable or dangerous results.
Check: Other—Before taking any of these supplements or eating any of
these foods with your medication, read this article in full for details.
An asterisk (*) next to an item in the summary indicates that the
interaction is supported only by weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific
Interactions with Dietary Supplements
A review of the research literature indicates that triamterene may increase calcium
loss.1 The importance of this information is unclear.
Triamterene is a weak folic acid antagonist that has been associated with folic
acid-deficiency anemia in people already at risk for folic acid deficiency.2
However, people treated long term with triamterene, without additional risk for folic acid
deficiency, were found to have normal folic acid levels and no signs of folic acid
deficiency.3 The use of
multivitamin supplements containing folic acid appears to diminish the occurrence of birth defects associated with triamterene.
According to one study,4 pregnant
women who took folic acid–containing multivitamin supplements in addition to their
prescription drugs had fewer babies with heart defects and deformities of the upper lip and
One study showed that people taking diuretics for more than six months had dramatically
lower blood levels of folic acid and higher levels of homocysteine compared with individuals not taking
diuretics.5 Homocysteine, a toxic amino acid byproduct, has been associated with atherosclerosis. Until further information is
available, people taking diuretics for longer than six months should probably supplement with
Preliminary research in animals suggests that triamterene may inhibit the urinary excretion of
magnesium.6 It is unknown if this same effect would occur in humans. Persons taking
more than 300 mg of magnesium per day and triamterene should consult with a doctor as this
combination may lead to potentially dangerous increases in the level of magnesium in the body.
The combination of triamterene and
hydrochlorothiazide would likely eliminate this problem, as hydrochlorothiazide may
As a potassium-sparing drug, triamterene reduces urinary loss of potassium, which can lead to
elevated potassium levels.7 People taking triamterene should avoid potassium
supplements, potassium-containing salt substitutes (Morton Salt Substitute, No Salt, Lite
Salt, and others) and even high-potassium foods (primarily fruit). Doctors should monitor potassium blood levels
in patients taking triamterene to prevent problems associated with elevated potassium
However, some medications (for example, Dyazide, Maxzide) contain the combination of the
potassium-sparing drug triamterene and the potassium-depleting drug hydrochlorothiazide. With the use of these combination
medications, potassium excess and potassium depletion are both possible. People taking these
drugs should have their potassium levels monitored by a doctor to determine whether their
potassium intake should be increased, reduced, or kept the same.
Diuretics, including triamterene, cause
increased loss of sodium in the urine. By removing sodium from the body, diuretics also cause
water to leave the body. This reduction of body water is the purpose of taking diuretics.
Therefore, there is usually no reason to replace lost sodium, although strict limitation of
salt intake in combination with the actions of diuretics can sometimes cause excessive sodium
depletion. On the other hand, people who restrict
sodium intake and in the process reduce blood pressure may need to have their dose of
diuretics lowered. People taking triamterene should talk with their prescribing doctor before
severely restricting salt.
Interactions with Herbs
Herbs that have a diuretic effect should be avoided when taking diuretic medications, as they
may enhance the effect of these drugs and lead to possible cardiovascular side effects. These
herbs include dandelion, uva ursi,
juniper, buchu, cleavers,
horsetail, and gravel root.8
Interactions with Foods and Other Compounds
Triamterene is best taken after meals to avoid stomach upset.9
1. Werbach WR. Foundations of Nutritional Medicine. Tarzana, CA:
Third Line Press, 1997, 246 [review].
2. Jackson EK. Diuretics. In Goodman & Gilman’s The
Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics, 9th ed. New York: McGraw Hill, 1996, 706.
3. Mason JB, Zimmerman J, Otradovec CL, et al. Chronic diuretic therapy
with moderate doses of triamterene is not associated with folate deficiency. J Lab Clin
4. Hernández-Díaz S, Werler MM, Walker AM, Mitchell AA. Folic
acid antagonists during pregnancy and the risk of birth defects. N Engl J Med
5. Morrow LE, Grimsley EW. Long-term diuretic therapy in hypertensive
patients: effects on serum homocysteine, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and red blood cell folate
concentrations. South Med J 1999;92:866–70.
6. Devane J, Ryan MP. The effects of amiloride and triamterene on urinary
magnesium excretion in conscious saline-loaded rats. Br J Pharmacol
7. Jackson PR, Ramsay LE, Wakefield V. Relative potency of
spironolactone, triamterene and potassium chloride in thiazide-induced hypokalaemia. Br J
Clin Pharmacol 1982;14:257–63.
8. Brinker F. Herb Contraindications and Drug Interactions.
Sandy, OR: Eclectic Institute, 1997, 102–3.
9. Threlkeld DS, ed. Diuretics and Cardiovasculars, Potassium-Sparing
Diuretics, Triamterene. In Facts and Comparisons Drug Information. St. Louis, MO:
Facts and Comparisons, Jul 1993, 138k–9.