Spironolactone

Brand names of spironolactone

  • Alatone
  • Aldactazide [CD]
  • Aldactone
  • Apo-Spirozide
  • Novo-Spiroton
  • Sincomen
  • Spironazide

Spironolactone belongs to the class of drugs known as potassium-sparing diuretics -  a medication that helps to increase urine flow, while enabling the kidneys retain potassium, but eliminating the excessive accumulation of salt and water. In effect, keeping hold of salt (sodium chloride) as well as water is one of the main functions of the kidneys. Augmented production of a hormone known as aldosterone by the adrenal glands results in the kidneys retaining salt and fluids in patients suffering from heart ailments and cirrhosis. In this case, although the kidneys retain salt and water, they get rid of potassium depleting its levels in the body. As a result of this, the body is clogged with salt and water, which, in turn, deteriorates heart failure. The prescription drug spironolactone works to slow down the action of aldosterone, thereby helping the kidneys to prevent elimination of potassium from the body. The sale and use of spironolactone was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)  in October 1985.

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Things you need to tell your physician before taking spironolactone

As before starting treatment with any prescription drug, prior to taking spironolactone, it is important to tell your physician as well as pharmacist if you have any allergic reaction to this medication, any of its ingredients, any other medicines or any additional type of allergy. This medication may contain a number of inactive elements that may result in allergies or other problems. Therefore, if you are not certain about the composition of spironolactone tablets, ask your pharmacist for a list of the same.

Before you start taking spironolactone, inform your physician if you are already using triamterene (Dyrenium), amiloride (Midamor) or any potassium supplement. In case you are already taking any of the above mentioned products, it is most likely that your physician will advice you not to take spironolactone. In addition, you should also tell your physician about all the prescription and over-the-counter drugs, herbal products, dietary supplements and vitamins you are already taking.

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Prior to beginning treatment with spironolactone, it is important to tell your physician about your entire medical history, especially if you have any kidney disease. In case you are suffering from any kidney problem, your physician will ask you not to take this medication. Also tell your physician if you suffer from or have ever suffered from a liver disease.

Women taking spironolactone or intending to take it should tell their physician if they are pregnant or are planning to get pregnant. In case any woman becomes pregnant while undergoing treatment with spironolactone, she should call her physician right away to seek advice on what to do next. New mothers taking spironolactone should avoid breast feeding.

In case you require undergoing any surgery, including any dental operation, tell your surgeon/ dentist that you are already taking spironolactone.

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People taking spironolactone or those who are considering taking this medication ought to know that consumption of alcoholic beverages in combination with this drug may result in giddiness, nausea and fainting if they try to rise hurriedly from a lying position. Also consult your physician on the potential risks of using spironolactone while continuing drinking alcohol.

Usage

The potassium-sparing diuretic spironolactone is generally used in the form of a supplementary (adjunctive) treatment in combination with additional diuretics to augment the elimination of salt (sodium chloride) and water from the body through urination, while retaining potassium in the body. In addition, spironolactone may also be used individually in patients suffering from liver ailments or primary hyperaldosteronism - a life-threatening ailment that develops when the patient's adrenal glands release the hormone aldosterone in excess. Physicians also prescribe spironolactone to treat high blood pressure (hypertension), in addition to treating sodium retention and edema in patients who have congestive heart failure.

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When hypertension is lowered it aids in putting off heart attacks, strokes as well as kidney disorders. In addition, spironolactone is also prescribed for treating edema (swelling due to excessive fluid retention by the body). It is also used for edema attributable to other conditions, such as congestive heart failure. This medication helps to eliminate the excessive fluid as well as improve certain symptoms like breathing difficulties. Some physicians also use spironolactone to treat hirsutism (too much hair growth) in women having polycystic ovary disease.

How to use spironolactone

Spironolactone is available in tablet form and is taken orally as per the instructions of your physician. In case this medication causes any stomach trouble, you may take it with milk or food. Preferably, you should take your daily dose of spironolactone sometime during the early part of the day (prior to 6 p.m.) in order to avoid getting up to urinate during night-time. In case you do not comprehend any instruction or have any questions, it is advisable that you talk over with your physician or pharmacist. The dosage of spironolactone is dependent on the medical condition of the patient and his/ her response to the treatment. In the case of children, the dose of this medication also depends on their body weight. In order to obtain the maximum benefits of taking this medication, take it every day and also at the same time, as it will help you to remember that you have to take spironolactone. Even if you start feeling better after a few weeks of treatment with spironolactone, it is essential that you continue the complete regimen. It is worth mentioning here that usually people having high blood pressure do not feel unwell.

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Spironolactone should strictly be taken as per the prescription. Never increase the dose of this medication or take it more frequently than what has been prescribed or discontinue it without seek your physician's advice. If you stop taking this drug abruptly, it is possible that your condition will deteriorate. Call your physician at once if there is any deterioration in your condition, for instance, in case you observe any rise in the regular blood pressure readings.

How spironolactone works

Spironolactone works by inhibiting the actions of the hormone aldosterone in the kidneys to augment the elimination of salt (sodium chloride) and water, while retaining potassium. When this medication is used in combination with loop diuretics or thiazide, it helps in lessening the general volume of fluid in the body. This, in turn, assists in regulating the symptoms associated with heart disease, liver ailments and kidney problems.

Side effects

Serious:
Common:

Possible interactions

Herbal medicines or minerals:
Some herbal products as well as minerals may interact with spironolactone and, hence, they should not be used in conjunction. For instance, the herb hawthorn (especially the Crataegus range) and co-enzyme Q10 have the potential to have an influence on the manner in which the heart functions. Therefore, if you are taking spironolactone, ensure that you inform your physician that you are already using or intending to use any of these. As soy products like tofu, milk and others enclose phytoestrogens, it has prompted a health claim approved by the FDA that they lessen the chances of developing heart ailments, provided every serving contains soy protein in measures of no less than 6.25 grams. Moreover, it is vital to ensure that the levels of potassium and magnesium are maintained within the usual range while you are undergoing treatment with spironolactone.
People having augmented level of fluid in their body (edema) owing to weakness of the heart should never take the nettle or couch grass. Similarly, they should also avoid taking ginseng, as this herb may possible raise the blood pressure, thereby diminishing the benefits of using spironolactone. Other herbs like hawthorn, ma huang, Siberian ginseng root, saw palmetto, licorice and goldenseal are also likely to raise the blood pressure. On the other hand, couch grass has the aptitude to make edema worse owing to problems related to the heart and/ or the kidneys. On the contrary, using the herbs Indian snakeroot and garlic as well as calcium may possibly aid in lowering the blood pressure.
Foods:
If you are taking spironolactone, it is advisable that you consult your physician regarding staying away from foods containing high amounts of potassium, as this may turn out to be necessary. In addition, do not restrict your salt intake extremely.
Alcohol:
People undergoing treatment with spironolactone should avoid consuming alcoholic beverages, as alcohol is likely to increase the lethargy as well as the blood-pressure-lowering actions of this medication.

Discontinuation

If you have been taking spironolactone for a prolonged period or in high doses, never stop taking it all of a sudden. It is advisable that before you discontinue this medication, lower its dose gradually. Seek your physician's guidance regarding this.

Storage instructions

Spironolactone should always be stored at room temperature less than 25°C and in a dark and dry place. Never store this medication in your bathroom, which is usually damp. In addition, keep all medication in a place that is beyond the reach of children and pets. When any medication has become outdated or is needed no more, discard it in a safe and proper manner. Unless you have been instructed otherwise, never dispose of medications by flushing them down the toilet or pouring them into the drain. If required, talk to your pharmacist or any neighbourhood waste disposal company regarding the safe and proper manner to dispose of such medications.

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