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Drugs For Edema And How They Help

Updated on December 5, 2012

When one is diagnosed with edema, it can be an uncomfortable and even painful condition.

Edema is swelling due to fluids collecting in certain areas of the body.

The most common places in the body swelling occurs are the extremities: hands and feet, abdomen and in the chest.

If swelling in the chest occurs near the lungs, it is called pulmonary edema and is dangerous and possibly even life threatening. A physician should be consulted as soon as possible if this occurs.

When swelling like this occurs, it can often make the skin appear to be shiny and even stretched out. Normally occurring in the lower legs, it is both uncomfortable and can be painful. Edema most often occurs after sitting for prolonged periods or standing for a long time.

Medications Used To Treat Edema

The most common treatment protocal for edema is to use medications. Some of the most common prescriptions used to treat edema are:


Demadex is used as a diuretic to make the patients kidneys work to eliminate excess water in the body that is causing edema and its symptoms.

Demadex should not be used by anyone allergic to it, or by anyone that is not able to urinate, as it will cause increased urination.

The physician will take other things into account before prescribing Demadex, such as if the patient is or intends to become pregnant, and other prescription medications they may be taking, as Demadex can interact with some other medications.


Zaroxolyn is used to treat edema, but is also used to treat hypertension or high blood pressure. It is a diuretic medication that acts similarly to other diuretic medicines.

The physician will want to know if the patient has any allergies, as well as several other conditions such as kidney or liver disease or lupus before prescribing Zaroxolyn.

The physician will also need to know if the patient is pregnant or planning to become pregnant.


Aldactazide is another diuretic which also helps to lower blood pressure.

Generally used if other medications fail, or can be used due to the physicians knowledge of other medications the patient may be taking. A physician should always know what medications a patient is taking, especially if any other diuretics are prescribed.

Communication with a physician is imperative whenever one is using any kind of prescription medications, and it is important to keep all appointments for follow up or for testing while using medications.

Dyrenium And Dyazide

Either of these can also be used to treat edema, and they work in a similar way to the other drugs listed, by causing the kidneys to excrete excess water through urination.

Physicians should always be aware of other conditions present and other medications the patient is taking, to keep the patient safe from unwanted or dangerous side effects.

The listed drugs are the most commonly prescribed ones. However, there is a long list of other prescriptions the physician may try when attempting to help to alleviate symptoms of edema in the patient.

Often, prescription medications will be used in conjunction with recommendations made by the physician to make changes in the patients diet, lowering the intake of salt especially, by becoming more aware of how much salt is present in foods in the patients diet. Being aware of this and being able to cut down on salt can be very effective in alleviating the underlying cause of edema, thereby helping to alleviate symptoms.

Another thing a physician may encourage the patient to try is elevating the lower extremities above the left atrium. This in combination with a change in diet can sometimes be effective, and may be enough. If not, prescription diuretic medications such as those listed will usually be tried in addition.

Treatment For Edema

Most often, physicians will advise patients to cut down on salt in the diet, and to also try compression stockings if swelling is in the legs or feet. Sometimes they will advise positioning the swollen extremities above the heart, elevating the legs.

If none of these things are effective, prescription medications will often be used to reduce the swelling present with edema, and to eliminate the extra water present which is causing uncomfortable symptoms. Most prescription medications used to treat edema fall under the category of diuretics, and there are some very effective medications that can help.

Conditions That Occur In Conjunction With Edema:

Heart Failure

Weakening of the heart and impaired pumping are the main causes of heart failure. Swelling and edema can result from it, along with other symptoms. One should always see their physician if they suspect heart failure.

Drug Side Effects

A less common condition that occurs with edema is due to the side effects of some drugs that are used to treat other conditions. Always let the physician know if these side effects occur.

Venous Disease

This occurs when veins in a persons legs cannot effectively pump enough blood back into the patients heart due to possible damage to valves or to the veins. Blood clots can also occur and a physician should be consulted.

Kidney And Liver Disease Such As Cirrhosis

Either of these can cause edema, and if these conditions exist, the patient should be carefully monitored by a physician.

Pregnancy and Monthly Menstrual Periods

Hormonal changes can contribute to edema, but normally it will be mild and clear up on its own once the hormones are back in balance.


Even traveling can be a cause of edema due to sitting for prolonged periods. This occurs most often with air travel, and if edema and swelling persist, one should see their physician because a blood clot can be present.

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      edwardhoward 2 years ago

      Metolazone belongs to a class of medications called diuretics.This drug removes excess fluid in the body by increasing the production of urine.