In this session we will be discussing the consumer medication information for spironolactone, trade name Aldactone™.
What it’s for & How to take
Spironolactone works by blocking a natural hormone in your body called aldosterone. This may cause your body to get rid of extra water and sodium from your kidneys while holding on to your potassium. This medication is called a potassium-sparing diuretic because it does not lower your potassium levels.
Spironolactone is used to treat a condition where the body makes too much aldosterone. This medication also is used to treat fluid retention caused by liver or kidney disease, heart failure and low potassium levels. Spironolactone may also be used to treat high blood pressure, either alone or with other medications.
Edema is when you have extra fluid in your body that causes swelling in your hands, feet or ankles. You may also feel shortness of breath or fluid in your abdomen. Increasing the amount of urine you eliminate will help get rid of some of the extra fluid and decrease the symptoms of edema.
If high blood pressure is not treated, your blood vessels will harden, and this may eventually lead to a heart attack or a stroke. High blood pressure may also cause vision problems, kidney failure and possibly heart failure.
Spironolactone is sometimes used to treat other conditions. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you are prescribed this medication to treat something that is not listed here.
Spironolactone is usually taken 1-2 times daily or as directed by your doctor. This medication may be taken with or without food. If you are taking this medication twice daily, take the second dose in the afternoon, not at bedtime. Taking spironolactone at bedtime may cause you to get up to urinate after you have already gone to bed.
If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of your next dose, skip it and continue with your normal dose time. Do not take a double dose to make up the missed dose.
If you are taking spironolactone to treat your blood pressure, keep using this medication, even if you don’t feel sick. You may need to treat your high blood pressure for many years. Your blood pressure should be checked often to make sure the medication is working correctly.
You may need to have regular blood tests done while taking this medication. Lab tests are done to see how your body tolerates this medication
Most Important Warnings
- Spironolactone has been shown to cause cancer in lab animals. Avoid unnecessary use of this medication and discuss the risks with your doctor.
Other Warnings & Cautions
- Let your doctor know if you have any condition that may cause increased potassium levels in your body such as Addison’s disease, kidney problems or are unable to urinate. Do not take spironolactone if you are already taking a similar medication called eplerenone.
- Your doctor may have you on a low salt diet to help you lower your blood pressure; however, avoid potassium containing salt substitutes while taking spironolactone.
- Blood pressure medication may make you feel light-headed or dizzy. Take it slow when you go from a sitting to standing position. Balance yourself to make sure you are stable before taking a step.
- If you become dehydrated from excessive sweating, vomiting or diarrhea, you are more likely to feel the dizziness and light headedness from this medication.
- The elderly may be more sensitive to the side effects of this medication, especially the drowsiness and dizziness. The chance of loss of balance and falling are increased.
- This medication may make you dizzy, drowsy, or blur your vision. Do not drive or do any activity that requires focus and attention until you are sure you can do them safely. Limit alcoholic beverages while taking spironolactone.
- Let your pharmacist or doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding before taking this medication.
Interactions & Side Effects
- Tell your pharmacist or doctor all your medication allergies so they may determine if spironolactone is safe for you to take.
- Avoid dangerous drug interactions. Tell your pharmacist or doctor all the other medication you are taking, including over the counter supplements, even if you don’t take them very often.
- Ask your doctor if this medication is safe to take with your current health conditions. Tell your doctor if you have any liver or kidney disease, swelling, fluid retention or any heart conditions.
- While taking spironolactone, you may feel some dizziness, headache, possibly some nausea or diarrhea and perhaps some minor sexual dysfunction. You may also experience enlarged or painful breasts, deepening of your voice, or increased hair growth on various parts of your body. If these or any other unwanted side effects persist, contact your doctor or pharmacist to talk about it with them.
- Call your doctor right away if you feel severe muscle cramping or weakness, an abnormal heartbeat, vision changes, or a really dry mouth and decreased urination.
- Call emergency 911 if you have any symptoms of a heart attack such as chest and left arm pain, shortness of breath and sweating or if you have symptoms of a stroke such as weakness on one side of your body, slurred speech, sudden vision changes, and confusion.
If you have any questions about what you have heard, contact your pharmacist or doctor. This session does not include all the potential interactions or side effects that this medication may cause. Ask your pharmacist how your medication should be stored and how you should dispose of it when you are done taking it. Do not share your medication with anyone, ever. Remember, this is not meant to replace your counseling session with your pharmacist. In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.