Phenazopyridine is typically used to reduce discomfort and pain on the lower portion of the urinary tract, including the urethra and bladder. It is part of the class of medications referred to as urinary tract analgesics. Keep reading to learn how it helps with urinary tract health. Just as any other medications, you should pay close attention to the dosage and be aware of interactions and side effects.
What Is Phenazopyridine Used for?
This medication provides relief from frequent urges to urinate, burning sensations, pain, and other discomforts linked to infection or irritation of urinary tract. The symptoms treated by this medication can be caused by numerous conditions, including those that affect the bladder, catheters, surgery, injuries, and infection. Phenazopyridine treats urinary symptoms but doesn’t treat the infection itself. Because of this, you should also take the antibiotics prescribed by your doctor.
Some doctors will prescribe phenazopyridine for conditions that aren’t listed above. But you should be clear about why you are taking this medicine. Never stop taking phenazopyridine before consulting your doctor. As with any other medications, you shouldn’t share your prescription with another person, even if you share similar symptoms. It should only be taken under the recommendations of a doctor.
Things to Know Before Taking Phenazopyridine
After the answer to “what is phenazopyridine used for”, here are more things to know before taking this medicine. Certain medical conditions can cause interactions with phenazopyridine, so it is essential that your doctor is aware of all your medications and conditions.
- Let your doctor know in particular if you are pregnant, hoping to become pregnant, or breast-feeding.
- You should also inform them of any medication, supplement, or herbs that you are taking, including both prescription and over-the-counter ones.
- As always, let your doctor know if you have any allergies.
- You should never take phenazopyridine if you have decreased function of your kidneys.
- Your doctor should also know if you have diabetes or liver disease.
- For phenazopyridine in particular it is important that your doctor knows if you have a history of blood problems or a family or personal history of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency.
How to Take Phenazopyridine
Now that you know “what is phenazopyridine used for”, you are ready to learn how to take it properly. Always follow your doctor or pharmacist’s advice, which should include the following information.
Phenazopyridine is best taken with food or following a snack as this reduces stomach upset. If you have urinary tract issues in the future, don’t use your leftover medication; instead, visit your doctor and follow his/her advice.
Every patient needs a different dosage for phenazopyridine. Although there are average doses, your doctor may prescribe a different one based on your particular needs. Only change dosage after talking to your doctor. Generally speaking, most adults and teenagers will be prescribed 200 milligrams to take three times daily. The dosage for children is determined by body weight and is typically 4 milligrams for every kilogram (or 1.8 milligrams per pound) of body weight, taken three times daily.
The quantity of medicine you need depends on the medication strength. Your particular medical problem will also affect how long you should take phenazopyridine, the time between doses, and the number of daily doses.
Missed Dosages and Storage
If you happen to miss a dose of your phenazopyridine, you should take it right away. If you are almost scheduled to take your next dose, you should just skip the one you missed and never double doses. If you aren’t sure what to do about a missed dose, ask your pharmacist.
Phenazopyridine should be stored in its closed container and at room temperature away from freezing, heat, moisture, or direct light. It should not be used past the expiration date.
In any situation where you think you may have taken too much phenazopyridine, get immediate medical attention or call the poison control help line. Taking too much phenazopyridine may lead to renal failure, particularly in the elderly. The following are some common symptoms of overdose:
- Blue or yellow skin
- Less frequent urination
- Numbness or swelling
- Vomiting or nausea
Watch For the Possible Side Effects
In addition to knowing “what is phenazopyridine used for”, you need to be aware of the potential side effects of this medication. Certain common side effects of phenazopyridine will typically disappear quickly as your body gets used to the medication. These include:
- Itching of skin
- Stomach pain or cramps
Other side effects are more serious and require you to stop taking the medication immediately and consult your doctor. These include:
- Blue-purple or blue tinged skin
- Shortness of breath
- Confusion and fever
- Chest tightness
- Skin rash
- Troubled breathing or wheezing
- Decrease in urine quantities
- Swelling of fingers, feet, face, and/or lower legs
- Weight gain
- Unusual weakness or tiredness
- Yellow skin or eyes
The following side effects can indicate an allergic reaction and require emergency medical help:
- Swelling of throat, tongue, face, or lips
- Difficulty breathing
- Don’t use soft contact lenses while on phenazopyridine as it can permanently stain them.
- It is normal for this medication to change your urine color to red or orange or stain fabric. Don’t be alarmed.
- Holding the medication in your mouth before swallowing or taking broken medication can lead to tooth discoloration.
- Never take more than your prescribed dose or use for over two days without doctor consultation.
- Elderly may be more sensitive to side effects so use this medication with caution.
- It may cause dizziness, so limit alcoholic beverages and don’t use machinery, drive, or do similar activities requiring alertness until you are comfortable on the medication.
- Phenazopyridine may lead to false results on urine ketone and sugar tests. Tell your doctor that you are taking this medicine.