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Lasix Furosemide


Pharmaceutical Name: Furosemide
Drug Classification: Loop Diuretic
Active Life: oral: 3-4 hours; injectable 3-7 hours



Furosemide is from a class of drugs called loop diuretics which are a potent form of diuretic that induce the excretion of water, electrolytes, chloride, sodium and potassium (1). Medically furosemide is used for the treatment of such condition as hypertension (2, 3), prostatism (4) and severe bronchial asthma (5) among others. For strength athletes and bodybuilders the drug is primarily administered prior to bodybuilding competitions to reduce the amount of subcutaneous water one is retaining during a competition. Alternatively some athletes may administer furosemide in an attempt to reduce their bodyweight for weigh in prior to competition.

Due to the nature of loop diuretics in general the use of furosemide is an extremely risky undertaking. This is because loop diuretics cause the body to excrete not only water but also electrolytes, potassium and other minerals. This can lead to serious conditions ranging from ones as mild as muscle cramps, although this could be a symptom of a much more severe problem, to ones including circulatory and cardiovascular disturbances that can lead to death. There are precautions that users can take to minimize those risks but they will still exist. For these reasons many users choose to forgo the use of loop diuretics like furosemide and instead administer other similar drugs that are potassium and electrolyte sparing but less effective. However there are still many users that administer furosemide for its extremely potent effects.

Furosemide is produced in both oral and injectable forms with the oral version coming in tablets and the injectable being able to be administered either intravenously or intramuscularly, with little difference in the action of the drug which method is utilized.

So while furosemide may be of benefit to competitive bodybuilders looking to achieve maximum muscle definition for competition there is little use for the drug outside of this purpose. In addition there are safer alternatives that offer similar effects as furosemide. Despite this the drug still remains relatively popular among athletes.


Use/Dosing

Since the reason for using a diuretic such as furosemide is to achieve extreme muscular definition for a competition, its use is only required for a maximum of four to five days prior to the day that one wants to achieve minimum fluid retention. Some athletes will even only require that they administer the drug the day of an event to achieve the desired results. However of course the time required for someone to experience the desired effects of furosemide will vary from individual to individual and personal experimentation will be the only way to determine how one reacts to the compound.

In terms of dosing, this again will vary from user to user. As will be outlined in the Risks/Side Effects section of this profile below, the negative side effects associated with furosemide are extremely serious and thus users should always begin using relatively small doses of the drug before attempting larger ones. Doses ranging anywhere from five to forty milligrams are quite normal depending on the body weight of the user. This holds true for both males and females, however because of the difference in average bodyweights females will likely stay closer to the lower end of the range for their dosing. Some users may experiment with higher doses but no individual should go beyond eighty milligrams per dose. Any higher and drastic side effects are likely to occur with any precautionary measures taken by the user to be unlikely to prevent such negative side effects from occurring. When administering the oral version of the drug users should begin to experience its effects approximately one hour after ingesting it. The injectable version, which can be administered either intramuscularly or intravenously with little difference in the time it takes for the drug to become and remain active in the user, should begin producing a diuretic effect almost immediately.

Due to the active life of the drug doses can be administered several times a day if needed. Of course the dosing with the injectable version of furosemide will be much easier to manipulate then the oral version. The oral version primarily is produced in either twenty or forty milligram tablets. Of course these tablets can be split so that more individualized dosing can be achieved however more exact dosing can be managed with the injectable version of the drug.

Many users will find that the injectable version of the furosemide produces a much more intense and dramatic effect then the oral version. This, combined with the rapid effect that the injectable has, necessitates that users do not simply use their dosing interchangeably with both versions of the drug. Using the dose that was effective for the oral version will not produce as dramatic of results as when used with the injectable. The opposite is true as well with the injectable producing a much stronger effect if used at what was an effective dose for the user administering the drug orally with of course the potential for negative side effects increasing with this. However users have relatively safely used the same range for dosing of both versions of the drug, approximately five to as high as eighty milligrams per dose depending on how well the user tolerates the drug.


Side Effects/Risks

The use of furosemide is considered one of the riskiest practices for competitive bodybuilders to undertake due to the excretion of potassium and electrolytes that the drug induces. This can lead to both dehydration as well as an imbalance in levels of electrolytes and/or various minerals. Symptoms of these conditions can include such things as fainting, diarrhea, dizziness, moderate to severe cramping and vomiting among others (6). More seriously they can also lead to cardiovascular and/or circulatory abnormalities which ultimately could result in the death of the user. In some cases of severe misuse death can occur quite rapidly.

To minimize the chances of these conditions developing users should of course experiment with low doses of the drug prior to attempting relatively large doses. Initial doses in the amounts of five to ten milligrams would be appropriate for the majority of first time users. Once one has experimented with the drug and found their tolerance level they can then increase their dosage as needed.

A second precaution users can take when administering furosemide is to take potassium supplements to help combat the large amount of potassium that is excreted while using the drug. Due to the severity of the potassium depletion that furosemide causes however prescription strength potassium supplements are likely required. It takes massive dosages of potassium to off set the symptoms associated with this type of depletion. Without the ability to access such supplements the user is taking yet another risk.

In cases where individuals do begin to experience severe side effects due to their use of furosemide users should not attempt to self-medicate by ingesting large volumes of water, potassium and/or other minerals. By doing so the user is likely to cause a different type or even more severe electrolyte/potassium imbalance in their body then already exists. Once severe symptoms begin to materialize in a user he or she should seek medical assistance to rectify the condition and not ignore the symptoms or attempt to treat themselves. Conditions serious enough to cause death can result and it should be treated as such.

Furosemide and other loop diuretics pose no further risks that are specific only to females (2). There is no evidence that the drug effects fertility or the hormonal balance in females. Of course like other drugs furosemide should not be administered to pregnant or nursing women without consultation with a medical doctor. However beyond the dosing ranges used by females likely being lower then those of men because of their relatively lower body weights when compared to the average male females should not face any additional potential side effects to those already listed and shared by males.



References

1. Rejnmark L, Vestergaard P, Mosekilde L. Fracture risk in patients treated with loop diuretics. J Intern Med. 2006 Jan;259(1):117-24.

2. Xu B, Makris A, Thornton C, Ogle R, Horvath JS, Hennessy A. Antihypertensive drugs clonidine, diazoxide, hydralazine and furosemide regulate the production of cytokines by placentas and peripheral blood mononuclear cells in normal pregnancy. J Hypertens. 2006 May;24(5):915-22.

3. del Castillo D, Campistol JM, Guirado L, Capdevilla L, Martinez JG, Pereira P, Bravo J, Perez R. Efficacy and safety of losartan in the treatment of hypertension in renal transplant recipients. Kidney Int Suppl. 1998 Dec;68:S135-9.

4. Delaney JA, Levesque LE, Etminan M, Suissa S. Furosemide use and hospitalization for benign prostatic hyperplasia. Can J Clin Pharmacol. 2006 Winter;13(1):e75-80.

5. Telia A, Tutashvili M, Donguzashvili S, Pirtskhalava N. Effect of magnesium and furosemide on bronchial asthma. Georgian Med News. 2005 Nov;(128):55-9.

6. Mentes J. Oral hydration in older adults: greater awareness is needed in preventing, recognizing, and treating dehydration. Am J Nurs. 2006 Jun;106(6):40-9.






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