A potassium sparing diuretic that acts by antagonism of aldosterone in the distal renal tubules. It is used mainly in the treatment of refractory edema in patients with congestive heart failure, nephrotic syndrome, or hepatic cirrhosis. Its effects on the endocrine system are utilized in the treatments of hirsutism and acne but they can lead to adverse effects. (From Martindale, The Extra Pharmacopoeia, 30th ed, p827)
Used primarily to treat low-renin hypertension, hypokalemia, and Conn’s syndrome.
Spironolactone is also 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 is a synthetic 17-lactone steroid which is a renal competitive aldosterone antagonist in a class of pharmaceuticals called potassium-sparing diuretics.
On its own, spironolactone is only a weak diuretic, but it can be combined with other diuretics. Due to its anti-androgen effect, it can also be used to treat hirsutism, and is a common component in hormone therapy for male-to-female transgendered people.
Spironolactone inhibits the effect of aldosterone by competing for intracellular aldosterone receptor in the distal tubule cells. This increases the secretion of water and sodium, while decreasing the excretion of potassium. Spironolactone has a fairly slow onset of action, taking several days to develop and similarly the effect diminishes slowly.
Mechanism of action
Spironolactone is a specific pharmacologic antagonist of aldosterone, acting primarily through competitive binding of receptors at the aldosterone-dependent sodium-potassium exchange site in the distal convoluted renal tubule. Spironolactone causes increased amounts of sodium and water to be excreted, while potassium is retained.
Spironolactone acts both as a diuretic and as an antihypertensive drug by this mechanism. It may be given alone or with other diuretic agents which act more proximally in the renal tubule. Aldosterone interacts with a cytoplasmic mineralocorticoid receptor to enhance the expression of the Na+, K+-ATPase and the Na+ channel involved in a Na+ K+ transport in the distal tubule.
Spironolactone bind to this mineralcorticoid receptor, blocking the actions of aldosterone on gene expression. Aldosterone is a hormone; its primary function is to retain sodium and excrete potassium in the kidneys.
All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects.Some medical conditions may interact with Spironolactone.
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions.
Common spironolactone 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.
Acute overdosage of spironolactone may be manifested by drowsiness, mental confusion, maculopapular or erythematous rash, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, or diarrhea.
This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider.