When your child is diagnosed with a heart problem it is very concerning. Understanding all you can about their condition is important to alleviate stress and anxiety. It is also important to understand the medications your child might take for a heart condition. One of these medications is called Lasix.
Lasix is a in a category of medications called a Loop Diuretic. The proper medical name is Furosemide, but the common name is Lasix. This name comes from the fact that the medication’s maximum effect lasts six hours. Lasix causes the kidney to excrete more fluid/urine. This helps remove extra fluid from the body. This action can be of great benefit to a child with a heart problem.
Many times a child with a heart problem will demonstrate extra fluid accumulating in the lungs. Most commonly this is a result of a left to right shunt resulting in too much blood flow to the lungs. This is seen with common congenital heart defects like a ventricular septal defect. Extra fluid in the lungs makes it harder for a child to breath, eat, and complete normal activities. Lasix alleviates this problem by getting rid of much of this excess fluid.
Typical dosing for Lasix is from 0.5-1 mg per kg (patient’s weight). Lasix may be given once per day up to 3 times daily. It comes in liquid form and in solid pills. For older children a standard dose of 10, 20, or 30 mg may be give as opposed to dosing based on weight.
All medicines have side effects. Lasix is no different. In general it is a very safe and effective medicine that is used commonly throughout all fields of medicine. The main problems that can be caused by Lasix are disturbances in the body’s electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and chloride. Other more rare side effects exist but do not often occur. A more detailed explanation can be found on medline plus-a service of the US National Institute of Health at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a682858.html.
Michael Day, M.D.
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