What is Spironolactone?
Spironolactone is diuretic therapy that causes fluid to be lost from the body. It is used to treat high blood pressure and in other conditions such as congestive heart failure, liver and kidney disease and in some conditions causing hair loss. Professor Barlis discusses this medicine and some of the side effects to be aware of.
It’s peter barlows here cardiologist now today we’re talking about a commonly prescribed medication called spironolactone you might be on this drug for various reasons we’ll talk about what some of those reasons are and what this medication does now spironolactone is a therapy called a diuretic and a diuretic means that we are using a drug to help lose fluid from
The body so this particular diuretic works on the kidneys to help release salt and therefore water and retain a an electrolyte called potassium and it’s a medication that we use to help remove fluid from the body and that can be as a result of the heart not pumping appropriately so congestive cardiac failure or it may be because of the kidneys not clearing out
Fluid in the body appropriately or the liver that’s not functioning so it can be used for various reasons but it can also be used for high blood pressure because by acting to reduce the salt in the bloodstream and to clear the salt and fluid out it drops blood pressure so there are some other causes and hormonal causes particularly affecting the adrenal glands
Can be treated by using this particular therapy and in other situations people who have a form of hair loss that is hormonal may also benefit from being on spironolactone in terms of the heart the two major reasons are that of high blood pressure and a condition called congestive cardiac failure now the term itself is not you know a nice term to to say failure
But essentially that’s what is happening when the heart is not able to pump the fluid out appropriately the blood out appropriately then there is a bit of congestion of fluid and blood in the body and that causes people to feel quite short of breath it can cause fluid to build up also in the ankles and feet and legs and also sometimes in the tummy a condition
Known as ascites while spironolactone is a very effective drug to be used in that scenario it’s a tablet and there are various doses we often start off with a low dose for example something like 12.5 milligrams and they often come in 25 milligram tablets and 50 mg tablets but the dose can be increased depending on the condition that we are treating it is often
Very well tolerated but because it lowers blood pressure well then if you are prone to having a low blood pressure and you start this therapy you may have a period of low blood pressure and therefore dizziness other conditions that we monitor when you are on this treatment is one called hyperkalemia or increased potassium levels in the bloodstream so we’ve got
To be cautious about that because there are various medications that we may use in combination and some of those may cause a high potassium level and having a very high potassium level can be a problem with respect to the heart so we do ask that blood tests are performed regularly when you are on this treatment to monitor your potassium levels and sometimes we are
Instructing patients obviously not to take any potassium supplements or to keep an eye on how much potassium they are consuming in the diet one of the the fruits for example that is known to have a high amount of potassium are bananas so other side effects which are less common but very important when you are on this treatment is a condition called gynecomastia
Whereby in males and females the breast tissue becomes quite painful and tender so in those situations we may elect to use alternative therapies if that side effect persists but the therapy is often well tolerated it’s very effective and in the case of the heart and heart failure there is a definite benefit on being on this therapy and it also has been shown to
Reduce the need to come into hospital with congestion or with exacerbations of fluid building up in the body so again very short video focusing on what spironolactone is a commonly used medication for blood pressure for congestive cardiac failure but also for other conditions affecting the kidneys and chronic liver disease and things like cirrhosis until the next video bye for now
Transcribed from video
What is Spironolactone? By Heart Matters