Spironolactone is used to treat water retention caused by heart failure, liver or kidney disease. Water retention may be noticed as swelling of the feet, ankles, lower leg and hands or shortness of breath. For this reason, it is commonly known as a "water pill".
It is also used on its own or together with other medicines to treat high blood pressure.
Spironolactone may also be used to treat other medical conditions, as decided by your doctor.
Take Spironolactone exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not take more or less than instructed by your doctor.
Take Spironolactone with food. Try to take it at the same time each day.
Spironolactone must be taken regularly for it to work well. Continue taking Spironolactone even when you feel better. Do not stop taking it unless instructed by your doctor.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your normal schedule.
DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.
If you often forget to take your medicine, let your doctor and pharmacist know.
Alert your doctor if you:
- are unable to pass urine
- have high potassium levels
- have Addison's disease (a disorder of the adrenal glands)
- are taking any other types of “water pills” such as eplerenone or potassium supplements
as Spironolactone may not be suitable for you.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- liver disease
- kidney disease
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
If you are going for an operation, including minor surgery and dental work, inform your doctor or dentist that you are taking Spironolactone.
Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medicine regularly. He may also need to do routine blood tests while you are being treated with Spironolactone.
What lifestyle changes can I make to improve my blood pressure?
Regular exercise and eating a healthy diet will help lower your blood pressure and improve your overall health. Engage in physical activity (e.g. walking) at least 30 to 60 minutes on most days of the week. If you have not exercised for a long time, start with light exercises such as slow walks. Speak to your doctor about what type of exercise would be suitable for you. Follow a healthy diet plan by eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products and reduce your intake of foods high in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. Cutting down on deep-fried foods and using less salt when cooking can kick-start your healthy diet.
If you smoke, you should try to quit. Smoking is harmful to your blood pressure, heart and overall health. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist about ways to kick your smoking habit.
Spironolactone may cause dizziness and tiredness. If affected, do not drive or take part in any activity in which you need to be alert. You may feel dizzy when you get up from a sitting or lying down position, especially if you are taking Spironolactone for the first time. This is normal and should go away as you get used to the medicine. It will help if you get up slowly.
You may need to pass urine more often while you are being treated with Spironolactone. As your body adjusts to the medicine, this urination effect should also decrease.
Spironolactone may also cause any of the following side effects: nausea, stomach cramps, diarrhoea, headache and breast enlargement in men.
Other side effects may be serious, although they are not common. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience:
- fast or irregular heartbeat
- muscle weakness, cramping or numbness
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:
- medicines for heart disease or high blood pressure e.g. digoxin, enalapril, losartan
- any other water pills e.g. amiloride
- NSAIDs (medicines for pain and inflammation) e.g. ibuprofen
- drospirenone (birth control pill)
- lithium (medicine for mood)
- ciclosporin (medicine used in organ transplant or certain immune disorders)
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Spironolactone.
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicine, multivitamins, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Do not take potassium supplements. Avoid taking large portions of food that is high in potassium such as orange juice, bananas or prunes. Do not use salt substitutes that contain potassium.
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.