What Foods to Avoid When Taking Furosemide

Furosemide, commonly sold under the brand name Lasix, is a type of medication known as a diuretic or “water pill.” It’s often used to treat conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure) and edema (fluid retention) caused by heart failure, liver disease, or kidney disease. Furosemide works by promoting the excretion of excess fluid and sodium through urine.

When taking furosemide, it’s essential to be aware of certain foods that could interfere with the medication’s effectiveness or potentially cause complications. Here’s what to know:

  1. High-Sodium Foods: Sodium can cause the body to retain water, which can counteract the effects of furosemide. Thus, it’s recommended to limit your intake of high-sodium foods, such as processed meats (like ham, bacon, sausage, hot dogs), canned soups, fast foods, salty snacks like chips and pretzels, and other pre-packaged meals.
  2. Potassium-Rich Foods: While it’s essential to maintain adequate potassium levels in your body, furosemide can cause your body to lose more potassium than usual. In response, healthcare providers often recommend increasing the intake of potassium-rich foods. However, in some cases, people taking furosemide may also be prescribed a potassium supplement. If you’re taking a supplement, eating too many potassium-rich foods could cause your potassium levels to get too high. Potassium-rich foods include bananas, oranges, leafy greens, and potatoes.
  3. Liquorice: Liquorice, especially the type used in black liquorice candy, can interact with furosemide. It contains a compound called glycyrrhizin, which can cause your body to retain sodium and lose potassium, disrupting the balance that furosemide is supposed to help with.
  4. Alcohol: Alcohol can lower blood pressure and further increase the side effects of furosemide, such as dizziness and fainting. It can also lead to increased urination and dehydration, which could potentially lead to a decrease in blood volume and exacerbate some conditions.
  5. Excessive Fluid Intake: While it’s generally important to stay hydrated, especially when taking a diuretic, excessive fluid intake can lead to fluid retention, which is counterproductive when taking furosemide. Your healthcare provider can guide you on an appropriate amount of fluid intake.

Before starting furosemide, make sure to discuss your diet and any concerns you have with your healthcare provider. Depending on your condition and other medications you may be taking, they may have additional dietary recommendations.