Triamterene, a relatively weak, potassium-sparing diuretic and antihypertensive, is used in the management of hypokalemia. Triamterene inhibits the epithelial sodium channels on principal cells in the late distal convoluted tubule and collecting tubule, which are responsible for 1-2% of total sodium reabsorption. As sodium reabsorption is inhibited, this increases the osmolarity in the nephron lumen and decreases the osmolarity of the interstitium. Since sodium concentration is the main driving force for water reabsorption, triamterene can achieve a modest amount of diuresis by decreasing the osmotic gradient necessary for water reabsorption from lumen to interstitium. Triamterene also has a potassium-sparing effect. Normally, the process of potassium excretion is driven by the electrochemical gradient produced by sodium reabsorption. As sodium is reabsorbed, it leaves a negative potential in the lumen, while producing a positive potential in the principal cell. This potential promotes potassium excretion through apical potassium channels. By inhibiting sodium reabsorption, triamterene also inhibits potassium excretion.Triamterene is used for the treatment of edema associated with congestive heart failure, cirrhosis of the liver, and the nephrotic syndrome; also in steroid-induced edema, idiopathic edema, and edema due to secondary hyperaldosteronism. Triamterene is maeketed under the trade name Dyrenium. NCATS
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