Spironolactone, which is also known as Aldactone, is a drug used to treat individuals with high blood pressure. It is a water pill that enables you to maintain the potassium levels in your body. It is effective in treating a number of other diseases such as heart failure and liver disease too.
How it works
The medication is used to treat a condition which increases the amount of aldosterone. It is a hormone in the adrenal gland and is responsible for generating and balancing the level of salt and water in your body. When the amount of aldosterone is high in your body, salt and water levels also increase. This increased level of salt and water enhances your blood pressure levels. By reducing the level of aldosterone in the body, the drug reduces salt and water quantity and thereby your blood pressure level.
Apart from treating hypertension, the medication is useful in treating a number of illnesses. These include:
Strokes, heart attacks and kidney problems (used only for prevention)
Fluid retention diseases such as edema that are caused as a result of kidney and liver diseases
Excessive hair growth – especially amongst women with polycystic ovary disease
Prevents hypokalemia (low potassium levels in the body)
This medication is usually consumed with water. If you experience an upset stomach, try taking it with milk or food. Since this medication can result in frequent urination, it is best to take your dosage earlier to avoid getting up in the night to urinate. Your dosage will be based on your personal health condition and response to the treatment. However, children’s dosages are based mostly on their weight. Do not increase your dose or change the timetable without consulting your healthcare provider.
Listed below are some side effects that you might experience when using the medication.
Signs of stomach bleeding – bloody stools, continuous vomiting, coughing blood.
High potassium effects – weak pulse, slow heart rate, muscle weakness.
Low sodium effects – hallucinations, confusion, slurred speech, seizures, shallow breathing, loss of coordination.
Electrolyte imbalance symptoms – increased thirst, drowsiness, lack of energy, nausea, muscle cramps, confusion.
Since some of these side effects are quite severe, make sure to keep an eye out for them. If you experience any of the above symptoms, contact your healthcare provider immediately.
Following the precautionary methods given below can reduce the occurrence of Aldactone’s side effects to a great extent.
Avoid drinking alcohol.
Do not drive or take part in any activity that requires a lot of concentration since consuming the drug can result in impaired thinking.
Take frequent blood tests.
Store the medication at room temperature and keep it away from heat and moisture.
When taking Aldactone, you need to be very careful about your diet. Do not consume low-sodium dairy products that have potassium. Do not take salt substitutes either. Eating such food can increase your potassium level and reduce the effectiveness of the drug. Moreover, you must also ensure you stay away from a high-salt diet. Excess salt in your body can result in retention of water in your body and interrupt the drug’s productivity.
Make sure that you are hydrated at all times by drinking plenty of water and other fluids – especially when you are exercising. But, do not drink too much either since it can be dangerous as well.