Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) is a diuretic approved for controlling high blood pressure and reducing water retention (edema). Clinical studies have shown that this medicine can significantly lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Hydrochlorothiazide can also help with water retention by helping the body get rid of the extra fluid.
There are currently two different strengths available for the tablet form of the drug; capsules are only available in one strength -- 12.5 mg. This prescription medication is usually taken by mouth once a day, although it may be taken several times a day. The tablets can be split in half if necessary, but the capsule form of hydrochlorothiazide should be swallowed whole.
Because hydrochlorothiazide increases urination, it is best to take it in the morning (to avoid needing to get up to use the bathroom throughout the night). If you take it multiple times per day, it is best to the take the last dose of the day before 6 p.m.
(Click Hydrochlorothiazide for information on how hydrochlorothiazide works, to learn about the side effects associated with this drug, and to find out what you should discuss with your healthcare provider before starting treatment.)