Generic name: SpironolactoneBrand names: Aldactone
Aldactone flushes excess salt and water from the body and controls high blood pressure. It is used in the diagnosis and treatment of hyperaldosteronism, a condition in which the adrenal gland secretes too much aldosterone (a hormone that regulates the body's salt and potassium levels). It is also used in treating other conditions that require the elimination of excess fluid from the body. These conditions include congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, cirrhosis of the liver, kidney disease, and unusually low potassium levels in the blood. When used for high blood pressure, Aldactone can be taken alone or with other high blood pressure medications.
If you have high blood pressure, you must take Aldactone regularly for it to be effective. Since blood pressure declines gradually, it may be several weeks before you get the full benefit of Aldactone; and you must continue taking it even if you are feeling well. Aldactone does not cure high blood pressure; it merely keeps it under control.
Take Aldactone exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Stopping Aldactone suddenly could cause your condition to worsen.
Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Aldactone.
You should not take Aldactone if you have kidney disease, an inability to urinate, difficulty urinating, or high potassium levels in your blood.
Potassium supplements or other diuretics that leave your potassium levels high, such as triamterene, should not be used while taking Aldactone, unless specifically indicated by your doctor. Symptoms of excess potassium include tingling sensations, fatigue, muscle weakness or paralysis, and a slow heartbeat. If you develop these problems, call your doctor immediately.
ACE inhibitors, used for blood pressure and heart failure, should not be taken while using Aldactone.
If you are taking Aldactone, your kidney function should be given a complete assessment and should continue to be monitored.
If you have liver disease, your doctor will be cautious about using Aldactone.
Excessive sweating, severe diarrhea, or vomiting could cause you to lose too much water and cause your blood pressure to become too low. Signs of dehydration include thirst, dry mouth, weakness, drowsiness, muscle fatigue, muscle cramps, restlessness, reduced urination, and a rapid heartbeat. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids whenever dehydration threatens, and be careful when exercising in hot weather.
Notify your doctor or dentist that you are taking Aldactone if you have a medical emergency, and before you have surgery or dental treatment.
If Aldactone is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Aldactone with the following:ACE inhibitors such as enalapril maleate and captoprilAlcoholBarbiturates such as phenobarbital and secobarbitalDigoxinIndomethacinLithiumNarcotic drugs such as those containing codeineNonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen sodiumNorepinephrineOther water pills such as furosemide and hydrochlorothiazideOther high blood pressure medications such as methyldopa and nifedipineSteroids such as prednisone
The effects of Aldactone during pregnancy have not been adequately studied. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. Aldactone appears in breast milk and could affect a nursing infant. If Aldactone is essential to your health, your doctor may advise you to discontinue breastfeeding until your treatment with Aldactone is finished.
Initial dosages of Aldactone are used to determine the presence of primary hyperaldosteronism (too much secretion of the adrenal hormone aldosterone). People can be tested with Aldactone over either a long or a short period of time.
In the long test, you take 400 milligrams per day for 3 to 4 weeks. If your potassium levels and blood pressure are corrected with this dosage in this time period, your physician may assume you have this condition.
In the short test, you receive 400 milligrams per day for 4 days. A laboratory test compares potassium levels while you are on Aldactone and after the medication is stopped. Your doctor may then make a diagnosis.
After the diagnosis of primary hyperaldosteronism is made and confirmed by more tests, the usual dose is 100 to 400 milligrams per day, prior to surgery. In those who are not good candidates for surgery, Aldactone is given over the long term at the lowest effective dose.
Fluid Retention (Congestive Heart Failure, Cirrhosis of the Liver, or Kidney Disorders)
The usual starting dosage is 100 milligrams daily either in a single dose or divided into smaller doses. However, your doctor may have you take daily doses as low as 25 milligrams or as high as 200 milligrams.
Your doctor may choose to adjust your dosage after an initial 5-day trial period or add another diuretic medication to this one.
Essential Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
The usual starting dosage is 50 to 100 milligrams daily in a single dose or divided into smaller doses. This medication may be given with another diuretic or with other high blood pressure medications.
It may be up to 2 weeks before the full effect of Aldactone is seen. Your doctor can then adjust the dosage according to your response.
Hypokalemia (Potassium Loss)
Your doctor may have you take daily dosages of 25 milligrams to 100 milligrams when potassium loss caused by the effects of a diuretic cannot be treated by a potassium supplement.
Any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. If you suspect an overdose, seek medical attention immediately.