Spironolactone Side Effects:
The most common side effect of spironolactone is drowsiness. Drowsyness may occur at any time during the day or night. However, it’s more likely to happen when taking the drug with alcohol or other sedative drugs such as sleeping pills. If you’re experiencing drowsiness while taking spironolactone, stop using the drug immediately and consult your doctor.
Other possible side effects include:
nausea (1 out of 10)
vomiting (1 out of 10)
diarrhea (2 out of 10)
If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your doctor immediately. You could have a severe allergic reaction to spironolactone. If you develop any signs or symptoms that worry you, stop using the drug and get medical attention right away.
What are the potential benefits of spironolactone?
There are several reasons why spironolactone might be beneficial for you. These include:
It helps reduce appetite. When you take spironolactone, you may feel less hungry than usual. This will help prevent overeating and eating disorders like bulimia. Spironolactone also reduces your appetite when combined with certain medications used to treat depression and anxiety disorders.
It may help improve blood sugar control in adults with type 2 diabetes. When you take spironolactone, it can make your body’s insulin more effective. This can lower your blood sugar to a healthy level and improve your response to certain medications taken to control the disease.
It helps treat people with low potassium levels in the blood (hypokalemia). Spironolactone works by increasing the amount of potassium in your body. It may be used in combination with other medications to treat this condition.
It helps treat people with a condition called primary hyperaldosteronism. In this condition, the body produces too much of a hormone called aldosterone, which leads to several symptoms including high blood pressure. Spironolactone works by blocking the effect of aldosterone in your body, which reduces the symptoms of primary hyperaldosteronism.
Is spironolactone safe for everyone?
Spironolactone is not safe for everyone. In fact, it may not even be safe for you. Before using this medication, consult your doctor if:
You’re allergic to spironolactone or any of the other ingredients in the medication. If you know you’re allergic to spironolactone or any of the other ingredients, don’t take the drug.
You have kidney problems. If you have kidney problems, it may not be safe for you to use spironolactone. Spironolactone is eliminated from your body largely through your kidneys. If your kidneys are damaged, less spironolactone will be removed from your body and its levels may build up, which can be dangerous.
You have any tumors in your adrenal glands. If you have non-cancerous tumors in your adrenal glands (hyperplasia), you should not take spironolactone.
You currently have or have had congestive heart failure or suffer from fluid around your heart. If this is the case, you shouldn’t take spironolactone.
Spironolactone can interact with other medications. If you’re currently taking any prescription or non-prescription medications, tell your doctor. Do not take spironolactone if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant or breastfeeding. It can cause harm to an unborn or breastfeeding baby.
Spironolactone is not for female patients who have a medical condition called hyperkalemia. This is when the potassium level in your blood is too high.
How do I take spironolactone?
Your doctor will determine the correct dosage for you, however, the usual starting dose is somewhere between 25 to 50 milligrams (mg) per day. The maximum dose is 200 mg per day. The usual starting dose for patients taking spironolactone to treat primary hyperaldosteronism is 50 mg per day. Your doctor may increase your dose by 50 to 100 mg per day each month until your blood pressure and kidney function are stabilized.
Spironolactone is usually taken once a day with or without food. If you’re taking the medication for heart failure, congestive heart failure, fluid around your heart, or high blood pressure, your doctor may tell you to take the medication in two doses per day. Follow these directions carefully; if you miss a dose of spironolactone and don’t take it at the scheduled time, your blood pressure will not be as controlled as it should be.
Spironolactone works best when taken regularly. To keep your blood pressure under control, it’s important to take the drug exactly as recommended by your doctor.
Spironolactone has been shown to be a safe and effective medication when taken at the correct dosage. However, it’s still a potential poison if you take too much of the drug. If you take more than the recommended dosage, contact your doctor or local poison control center immediately.
What are the side effects of spironolactone?
Just like any medication, spironolactone may cause side effects. Most people will not experience any side effects from taking spironolactone. If you do experience side effects from the medication, they may or may not be bothersome. The side effects that you experience will vary from one patient to another.
Spironolactone may cause the following side effects, but not everyone experiences them:
Abdominal or stomach cramps
Loss of appetite
Nausea or vomiting
Tiredness or fatigue (particularly during the first few weeks of treatment)
Weakness or unusual tiredness
Other side effects include (but are not limited to)
Difficulty concentrating or confusion
Hearing problems, such as increased sensitivity to sound (hyperacusis) and mounting inner-ear pressure (pulsatile tinnitus)
Skin rash, itching, or hives (urticaria)
While the side effects listed above are not life-threatening, you should seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following:
Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
Dizziness or lightheadedness
Severe or ongoing nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
Swelling of the ankles, feet, or lower legs
Yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice)
If you experience any of the following side effects or any other unusual symptoms, you should also seek immediate medical attention:
Breast pain, lumps, discharge, or milk secretion (in males)
Decreased vision or loss of vision (in either eye)
Severe ankle swelling
Skin redness, peeling, or swelling
Irregular menstrual cycles in women or testicular pain or malfunction in men
Bloating, fullness, or pain in the stomach
Spironolactone may rarely cause a condition known as hyperkalemia (high levels of potassium in the blood). This condition can be potentially life-threatening. You should seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following:
Abnormal heart rhythms or an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Slow or irregular heartbeat
If you experience a skin rash, hives, or other skin irritation, stop taking spironolactone and contact your doctor immediately. You should also inform your physician if you experience any redness or swelling of the lips, mouth, tongue, or throat.
If you experience an allergic reaction to the medication, seek immediate medical attention. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction include rash, itching, hives, swelling, shortness of breath, wheezing, or coughing.
How should I store spironolactone?
Spironolactone is usually stored at room temperature and kept away from heat and light. However, you should always check the instructions on your prescription label to ensure proper storage. The medication comes in tablet form and should be stored in a place that children cannot reach.
Sources & references used in this article:
Management of resistant arterial hypertension: role of spironolactone versus double blockade of the renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system by B Alvarez-Alvarez, M Abad-Cardiel… – Journal of …, 2010 – journals.lww.com
How prevalent is hyperkalemia and renal dysfunction during treatment with spironolactone in patients with congestive heart failure? by M Svensson, F Gustafsson, SØ Galatius… – Journal of cardiac …, 2004 – Elsevier
Spironolactone as a nonspecific treatment for primary aldosteronism by EL BRAvo, HP DUSTAN, RC TARAZI – Circulation, 1973 – Am Heart Assoc
Low-dose spironolactone in the management of resistant hypertension: a surveillance study by DA Lane, S Shah, DG Beevers – Journal of hypertension, 2007 – journals.lww.com
Effect of fludrocortisone and spironolactone on sodium and potassium losses in secretory diarrhea by HH Wenzl, KD Fine, CA Santa Ana, JL Porter… – Digestive diseases and …, 1997 – Springer