August 13, 2022

Dosage, Side Effects, Uses & More

Spironolactone oral tablets can cause mild and severe side effects. The following lists contain some of the main side effects that can occur when taking spironolactone oral tablets. These lists do not include all possible side effects.

For more information about the possible side effects of spironolactone oral tablets, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. They can give you advice on how to deal with side effects that may be concerning or bothersome.

To note: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tracks the side effects of drugs it has approved. If you would like to notify the FDA of a side effect you have had with spironolactone oral tablets, you can do so via MedWatch.

Mild side effects

Mild side effects* of spironolactone oral tablets may include:

Most of these side effects may disappear within a few days or weeks. But if they get worse or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

*This is a partial list of mild side effects of spironolactone oral tablets. To learn about other mild side effects, talk to your doctor or pharmacist, or check out spironolactone oral tablets. prescribing information.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from spironolactone oral tablets are not common, but they can occur. Call your doctor right away if you experience any serious side effects. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms are life-threatening or you think you have a medical emergency.

Serious side effects and their symptoms may include:

* For more information on this side effect, see ‘Details of side effects’ below.

Details of side effects

Here are some details about some side effects that this drug can cause.

breast growth

One of the most common side effects of spironolactone oral tablets is gynecomastia, which is breast growth in men. * With this condition, you may notice that your breast tissue becomes swollen and tender.

This side effect is more likely to occur if you take a high dose of spironolactone. And it can start to happen anytime between 1 month and over a year after you start taking spironolactone.

Breast changes have not been reported as a side effect in women (women*) during studies spironolactone oral tablets.

If you notice breast swelling or growth while taking spironolactone, tell your doctor. They will usually recommend that you switch to a medication other than spironolactone for your condition.

Breast growth due to spironolactone usually goes away after you stop taking the drug. At this point, your breast tissue should return to its normal size.

* Sex and gender exist on spectra. The use of the terms “male” and “female” in this article refers to the sex assigned at birth.

Hyponatremia and hyperkalemia

Spironolactone oral tablets can sometimes cause hyponatremia (low sodium levels) and hyperkalemia (high potassium levels). These conditions are described below.

Hyperkalemia

You can develop hyperkalemia with spironolactone because the drug helps your body retain potassium.

It is not known how often this side effect occurs. But you are more likely to get hyperkalemia with spironolactone if you have kidney problems.

You are also more likely to have this side effect if you take spironolactone with potassium supplements or other medications that raise your potassium levels. Eat plenty of potassium-rich foods, especially salt substitutes that contain potassium also increase your risk of hyperkalemia. See the “Interactions with Spironolactone Oral Tablets” section below for more on this risk.

Hyperkalemia usually does not cause symptoms. But if your potassium level is very high, symptoms may include:

  • nausea
  • fatigue (lack of energy)
  • muscle weakness or cramps
  • tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
  • palpitations (a feeling that your heart is racing, pounding, or beating irregularly)
  • difficulty breathing

Your doctor will usually check your potassium levels within a week of starting treatment with spironolactone. And they will check your level after any dose increases. You will also have blood tests to regularly check your potassium levels while you are taking spironolactone. It is especially important to have your potassium levels monitored if you have kidney problems or if you are taking spironolactone with other drugs that increase potassium.

If you have symptoms of hyperkalemia at any time while taking spironolactone, see your doctor right away. This way your potassium level can be controlled.

If you have hyperkalemia, your doctor may reduce your dose of spironolactone until your potassium levels return to normal. If your potassium level does not improve, you may need medication to treat it. Your doctor may also ask you to temporarily stop taking spironolactone. Or they may switch you to another drug.

Hyponatremia

You can develop hyponatremia with spironolactone because the drug forces your kidneys to filter more sodium out of your body. It is not known how often this side effect occurs.

Symptoms of hyponatremia can include:

While you are taking spironolactone, your doctor will order blood tests to regularly check your sodium levels. If you have symptoms of hyponatremia, see your doctor immediately. This way your sodium level can be checked.

If you have hyponatremia, your doctor may reduce your dose of spironolactone until your sodium levels return to normal. If your sodium level is not improving, you may need medication to treat it. Your doctor may also ask you to temporarily stop taking spironolactone. Or they may switch you to another drug.

Kidney problems

Spironolactone can sometimes cause kidney problems. These include worsening kidney function or, more rarely, kidney failure.

It is not known how often kidney problems occur with spironolactone. But you may have a higher risk of kidney problems if you have low blood pressure or become dehydrated during treatment. (With dehydration, you have low fluid levels in your body.) Spironolactone causes your body to lose fluid, so you are more likely to have low blood pressure or become dehydrated on the drug.

Symptoms of dehydration can include:

Symptoms of low blood pressure can include:

  • stunning
  • dizziness
  • fainting

If you have symptoms of dehydration or low blood pressure while taking spironolactone, see your doctor right away. They may need to reduce your dose of spironolactone.

Kidney problems are more likely if you take spironolactone with other medicines that can cause kidney problems. See the “Interactions with Spironolactone Oral Tablets” section below for more on this.

Symptoms of kidney problems can include:

  • edema (fluid retention and swelling) in the lower legs and feet
  • muscle cramps
  • loss of appetite
  • headache
  • little or no urination

While you are taking spironolactone, your doctor will do regular blood tests to check your kidney health. If you have symptoms of kidney problems, see your doctor right away. This way your kidney function can be checked.

If you have kidney problems on spironolactone, your doctor will likely switch you to another drug.

Allergic reaction

As with most medications, some people may have an allergic reaction after taking spironolactone oral tablets.

Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction may include:

  • eruption
  • itching
  • hot flashes (temporary warmth, redness or deepening of skin color)

A more serious allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction may include:

  • swelling under the skin, usually in the eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of the tongue, mouth or throat
  • difficulty breathing

Call your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction to spironolactone oral tablets, as the reaction could become severe. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms are life-threatening or you think you have a medical emergency.


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