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All about: Aldactone

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Generic Name: spironolactone (speer oh no LAK tone)
Brand Names: Aldactone, Spironol

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 other than those listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about spironolactone?

Do not use this medication if you have kidney disease, urination problems, or high levels of potassium in your blood. Do not use potassium supplements or other diuretics while you are taking spironolactone.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor if you have liver disease, or if you use a steroid or another diuretic.

Avoid drinking alcohol, which can increase some of the side effects of spironolactone.

Avoid a diet high in salt. Too much salt will cause your body to retain water and can make this medication less effective.

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 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.

If you are being treated for high blood pressure, keep using this medication even if you feel fine. High blood pressure often has no symptoms.

What should I discuss with my doctor before taking spironolactone?

Do not use this medication if you have:
  • kidney disease or are unable to urinate;
  • high potassium levels (hyperkalemia); or

  • if you are taking potassium supplements or other potassium-sparing diuretics such as Aldactazide, amiloride (Midamor, Moduretic), or triamterene (Dyrenium, Dyazide, Maxzide).

Before using spironolactone, tell your doctor if you have:

  • heart disease;

  • liver disease; or

  • if you are using a steroid, or another diuretic.

If you have any of these conditions, you may not be able to use spironolactone, or you may need a dosage adjustment or special tests during treatment.

FDA pregnancy category C. This medication may be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. Spironolactone passes into breast milk and could cause harm to a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I take spironolactone?

Take this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor.

Take each dose with a full glass of water.

To be sure this medication is not causing harmful effects, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. It is important that you not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.

This medication can cause you to have unusual results with certain medical tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using spironolactone.

If you need to have any type of surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are taking 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 fine. High blood pressure often has no symptoms.

Store this medication 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. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take the medicine at the next regularly scheduled time. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine. Symptoms of a spironolactone overdose may include drowsiness, confusion, red skin rash, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

What should I avoid while taking spironolactone?

Avoid drinking alcohol, which can increase some of the side effects of spironolactone.

Avoid using other medicines that make you light-headed (such as cold medicine, pain medication, muscle relaxers, and medicine for seizures, depression or anxiety). They can add to the 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 diet high in salt. Too much salt will cause your body to retain water and can make this medication less effective.

This medication can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and 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 any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Stop using this medication and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
  • numbness or tingly feeling;

  • muscle pain or weakness;

  • slow, fast, or uneven heartbeat;

  • feeling drowsy, restless, or light-headed;

  • urinating less than usual or not at all;

  • shallow breathing;

  • tremors, confusion; or

  • nausea, stomach pain, low fever, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Continue using spironolactone and talk with your doctor if you have any of these less serious side effects:

  • mild nausea or vomiting;

  • dizziness, headache;

  • gas, stomach pain; or

  • skin rash.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect spironolactone?

Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you are using any of the following drugs:

  • lithium;

  • digoxin (Lanoxin);

  • steroids (prednisone and others);

  • an ACE inhibitor such as benazepril (Lotensin), captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril), ramipril (Altace), and others; or

  • indomethacin or other NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), diclofenac (Voltaren), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), piroxicam (Feldene), nabumetone (Relafen), etodolac (Lodine), and others.

If you are using any of these drugs, you may not be able to use spironolactone, or you may need dosage adjustments or special tests during treatment.

There may be other drugs not listed that can affect spironolactone. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has additional information about spironolactone written for health professionals that you may read.

What does my medication look like?

Spironolactone is available with a prescription under the brand name Aldactone. Other brand or generic formulations may also be available. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about this medication, especially if it is new to you.

  • Aldactone 25 mg--round, light-yellow, film-coated tablets

  • Aldactone 50 mg--oval, light-orange, film-coated, scored tablets

  • Aldactone 100 mg--round, peach-colored, film-coated, scored tablets

  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children. Never share your medicines with others and only use this medication for the condition prescribed.
  • 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 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 6.01. Revision Date: 6/9/06 2:52:50 PM.

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