Generic Name: spironolactone (spir ON oh LAK tone)
Brand Name: Aldactone
What is spironolactone?
Spironolactone is a potassium-sparing diuretic (water pill) that prevents your body from absorbing too much salt and keeps your potassium levels from getting too low.
Spironolactone is used to diagnose or treat a condition in which you have too much aldosterone in your body. Aldosterone is a hormone produced by your adrenal glands to help regulate the salt and water balance in your body.
Spironolactone also treats fluid retention (edema) in people with congestive heart failure, cirrhosis of the liver, or a kidney disorder called nephrotic syndrome. This medication is also used to treat or prevent hypokalemia (low potassium levels in the blood).
Spironolactone may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What is the most important information I should know about spironolactone?
You should not use spironolactone if you have kidney disease, high levels of potassium in your blood, Addison's disease (an adrenal gland disorder), if you are unable to urinate, or if you are also taking eplerenone.
In animal studies, spironolactone caused certain types of cancers or tumors. It is not known whether these effects would occur in people using this medicine. Ask your doctor about your risk.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking spironolactone?
You should not use spironolactone if you are allergic to it, or if you have:
kidney disease, or if you are unable to urinate;
Addison's disease (an adrenal gland disorder);
high levels of potassium in your blood (hyperkalemia); or
if you are also taking eplerenone.
To make sure spironolactone is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
an electrolyte imbalance (such as low levels of magnesium in your blood); or
if you take an NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug), cholestyramine, heparin, lithium, heart or blood pressure medication, potassium supplements, steroid medicine, or another diuretic.
In animal studies, spironolactone caused certain types of tumors, some of which were cancerous. However, very high doses are used in animal studies. It is not known whether these effects would occur in people using regular doses. Ask your doctor about your risk.
It is not known whether spironolactone will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
Spironolactone can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.
How should I take spironolactone?
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
While using spironolactone, you may need frequent blood tests.
This medication can cause unusual results with certain medical tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using spironolactone.
If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using spironolactone. You may need to stop using the medicine for a short time.
If you are being treated for high blood pressure, keep using this medication even if you feel well. High blood pressure often has no symptoms. You may need to use blood pressure medication for the rest of your life.
Store at room temperature away from heat, light, and moisture.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while taking spironolactone?
Drinking alcohol can increase certain side effects of spironolactone.
Do not use salt substitutes or low-sodium milk products that contain potassium. These products could cause your potassium levels to get too high while you are taking spironolactone.
Avoid a high-salt diet. Too much salt will cause your body to retain water, which may reduce the effectiveness of this medicine.
Spironolactone may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert.
Avoid becoming overheated or dehydrated during exercise and in hot weather. Follow your doctor's instructions about the type and amount of liquids you should drink. In some cases, drinking too much liquid can be as unsafe as not drinking enough.
Spironolactone side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Stop using spironolactone and call your doctor at once if you have:
signs of stomach bleeding--bloody or tarry stools, coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds;
high potassium--slow heart rate, weak pulse, muscle weakness or limp feeling, tingly feeling;
low sodium--confusion, slurred speech, hallucinations, severe weakness, loss of coordination, feeling unsteady, seizure (convulsions), fainting, shallow breathing (breathing may stop); or
symptoms of any electrolyte imbalance--dry mouth, increased thirst, drowsiness, lack of energy, restless feeling, confusion, nausea, vomiting, increased urination, muscle cramps or weakness, fast heart rate, little or no urinating, or feeling like you might pass out.
Common side effects may include:
mild nausea or vomiting, diarrhea;
breast swelling or tenderness;
dizziness, headache, mild drowsiness;
leg cramps; or
impotence, difficulty having an erection.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Spironolactone dosing information
Usual Adult Dose for Edema:
25 to 200 mg orally per day in single or divided doses
Duration of therapy: When given as the sole diuretic, continue the initial dose for at least 5 days, after which the initial dose may be adjusted to an optimal maintenance dose.
-A second diuretic that acts more proximally at the renal tubule may be added if adequate diuresis has not been achieved after 5 days. The dose of this drug should remain unchanged if a second diuretic is added.
-Treatment of edematous conditions in patients with congestive heart failure who are only partially responsive to or intolerant of other therapeutic measures or who are taking digitalis when other therapies are considered inappropriate.
-Treatment of edematous conditions in patients with liver cirrhosis accompanied by edema and/or ascites.
-Treatment of edematous conditions in patients with nephrotic syndrome when treatment of the underlying disease, restriction of fluid and sodium intake, and the use of other diuretics do not provide an adequate response.
Usual Adult Dose for Hypertension:
Initial dose: 50 to 100 mg orally per day in single or divided doses
Duration of therapy: Treatment should be continued for at least 2 weeks to achieve a maximum response. Subsequently, the dose may be adjusted according to patient response.
Usual Adult Dose for Congestive Heart Failure:
Initial dose: 25 mg orally once a day assuming serum potassium is less than or equal to 5 mEq/L and serum creatinine is less than or equal to 2.5 mg/dL
-Patients tolerant of initial dose: May increase to 50 mg orally once a day as clinically indicated
-Patients intolerant of initial dose: May decrease to 25 mg orally every other day
Use: To increase survival and reduce the need for hospitalization of severe heart failure patients (New York Heart Association [NYHA] class III to IV) when used in addition to standard therapy.
Usual Adult Dose for Primary Hyperaldosteronism:
-Long test: 400 mg orally per day for 3 to 4 weeks
-Short test: 400 mg orally per day for 4 days
Maintenance dose: 100 to 400 mg orally per day until surgery; may be used long-term at the lowest effective dose in patients deemed unsuitable for surgery.
-For the long test, correction of hypokalemia and hypertension provides presumptive evidence of primary hyperaldosteronism.
-For the short test, increased serum potassium with this drug and a decrease upon discontinuation provide presumptive evidence of primary hyperaldosteronism.
-Initial diagnostic measure to provide presumptive evidence of primary hyperaldosteronism while patients are on normal diets.
-Short-term preoperative treatment of patients with primary hyperaldosteronism.
-Long-term maintenance therapy for patients deemed unsuitable for surgery or those with idiopathic hyperaldosteronism.
Usual Adult Dose for Hypokalemia:
25 to 100 mg orally per day
-Treatment of patients with hypokalemia when other measures are considered inappropriate or inadequate.
-Prophylaxis of hypokalemia in patients taking digitalis when other measures are considered inadequate or inappropriate.
What other drugs will affect spironolactone?
Taking this medicine with other drugs that make you dizzy or lower your blood pressure can worsen these effects. Ask your doctor before taking spironolactone with a narcotic pain medicine, muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety or seizures.
Other drugs may interact with spironolactone, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.
More about spironolactone
- Side Effects
- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Drug Images
- Drug Interactions
- Compare Alternatives
- Support Group
- Pricing & Coupons
- En Español
- 330 Reviews – Add your own review/rating
- Drug class: aldosterone receptor antagonists
Related treatment guides
Where can I get more information?
- Your pharmacist can provide more information about spironolactone.
- Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
- Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 9.03.
Date modified: November 15, 2017
Last reviewed: December 02, 2015