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All about: hydralazine

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Generic Name: hydralazine (hye DRAL a zeen)
Brand Names: Apresoline

What is hydralazine?

Hydralazine is a vasodilator. It relaxes (widens) veins and arteries, which makes it easier for your heart to pump.

Hydralazine is used to lower blood pressure.

Hydralazine may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about hydralazine?

Do not stop taking hydralazine suddenly. Stopping suddenly could cause your blood pressure to become dangerously high and could make you feel anxious or uncomfortable. Use caution when driving, operating machinery, or performing other hazardous activities. Hydralazine may cause dizziness. If you experience dizziness, avoid these activities. Avoid alcohol or use it cautiously while taking hydralazine. Alcohol may dangerously increase dizziness caused by hydralazine.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking hydralazine?

Do not take hydralazine if you have coronary heart disease or mitral valvular rheumatic heart disease. Tell your doctor about your medical history, especially if you have any type of heart disease.

Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you

  • have kidney disease,
  • have systemic lupus erythematosus,

  • have had a stroke or a transient ischemic attack (mini-stroke),

  • have high levels of cholesterol or triglycerides (types of fat) in your blood, or

  • have pulmonary hypertension.

You may need a lower dose or special monitoring during treatment if you have any of the conditions listed above.

Hydralazine is in the FDA pregnancy category C. This means that it is not known whether hydralazine will harm an unborn baby. Do not take hydralazine without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant. Hydralazine passes into breast milk, and its effects on a nursing infant are not known. Do not take hydralazine without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby. If you are over 60 years of age, you may be more likely to experience dizziness from hydralazine. You may require a lower dose or special monitoring during therapy.

How should I take hydralazine?

Take hydralazine exactly as directed by your doctor. If you do not understand these directions, ask your pharmacist, nurse, or doctor to explain them to you.

Take each dose with a full glass of water.

Do not stop taking hydralazine suddenly. Stopping suddenly could cause your blood pressure to become dangerously high and could make you feel anxious or uncomfortable.

Store this medication at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the dose you missed and take only your next regularly scheduled dose. Do not take a double dose of this medication.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention.

Symptoms of a hydralazine overdose include very low blood pressure (fainting, dizziness, confusion), an irregular heartbeat, headache, and flushing of the skin.

What should I avoid while taking hydralazine?

Use caution when driving, operating machinery, or performing other hazardous activities. Hydralazine may cause dizziness. If you experience dizziness, avoid these activities.

Use caution when rising from a sitting or lying position, especially first thing in the morning. You may become dizzy while taking hydralazine, and you may fall and injure yourself if you get up quickly.

Avoid alcohol or use it cautiously while taking hydralazine. Alcohol may increase the dizziness caused by hydralazine, which could be dangerous.

Hydralazine side effects

If you experience any of the following serious side effects, stop taking hydralazine and seek emergency medical attention:
  • an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; or hives);

  • blood in your urine or stools;

  • numbness, tingling, pain, or weakness of your arms or legs;

  • irregular or very fast heartbeats;

  • new or worsening chest pain; or

  • fainting.

Other, less serious side effects are more likely to occur. Continue to take hydralazine and talk to your doctor if you experience any of the following side effects:

  • a headache;

  • dizziness or lightheadedness;

  • water retention, which is indicated by swelling of the hands, feet, or ankles (call your doctor if you suddenly gain more than 5 pounds);

  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or decreased appetite;

  • a rash; or

  • fatigue.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect hydralazine?

Before taking hydralazine, tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following medicines:

  • a beta-blocker such as metoprolol (Lopressor) or propranolol (Inderal);

  • a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine such as indomethacin (Indocin); or

  • diazoxide (Hyperstat, Proglycem).

You may require a lower dose or special monitoring during therapy if you are taking any of the medicines listed above.

Drugs other than those listed here may also interact with hydralazine or affect your condition. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has additional information about hydralazine written for health professionals that you may read.

What does my medication look like?

Hydralazine is available with a prescription under the brand name Apresoline. Other brand or generic formulations may also be available. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about this medication, especially if it is new to you.

  • Apresoline 10 mg--round, pale-yellow, dry-coated tablets

  • Apresoline 25 mg--round, deep-blue, dry-coated tablets

  • Apresoline 50 mg--round, light-blue, dry-coated tablets

  • Apresoline 100 mg--round, peach-colored, dry-coated tablets

  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 4.07. Revision Date: 8/19/04 4:24:41 PM.

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