If you have been prescribed spironolactone, there are a few important things you need to keep in mind. One of them is staying hydrated. Your doctor will provide you with specific guidelines on water intake while taking this medication, and this article will cover all you need to know about spironolactone.
What Is Spironolactone?
Spironolactone is a prescription medicine that is also known as Aldactone. It is prescribed for a variety of reasons. A few of its common uses are for high blood pressure and heart failure. It’s also used to treat edema in patients with liver disease or a kidney disease called nephrotic syndrome. This medication can also treat hyperaldosteronism, a condition where your body secretes too much of the hormone aldosterone.
Spironolactone is available generic and as a brand name drug. It is only available by prescription. It comes in two different forms: tablet and suspension.
How Does Spironolactone Work?
Spironolactone is a potassium-sparing diuretic known as a “water pill.” It prevents you from absorbing too much salt into your body while working as a diuretic to reduce water retention. It also helps your body retain more potassium.
Spironolactone works by blocking the action of the hormone aldosterone. Aldosterone is a hormone involved in regulating blood pressure. When too much of this hormone is in your body, your blood pressure can rise. According to research, too much aldosterone is associated with cardiac inflammation and water retention (edema).
What Are the Side Effects of Spironolactone?
It’s helpful to become knowledgeable of the possible side effects of spironolactone, so you can know whether a symptom you are experiencing is a serious side effect of the medication.
Mild side effects of spironolactone:
- Stomach upset
Serious side effects of spironolactone:
- Signs of kidney problems, such as decreased urination
- Nausea or vomiting that doesn’t stop
- Vomit that looks dark like coffee grounds
- Mood changes
- Muscle spasms
- Changes in menstruation
- Breast pain
- Breast enlargement
- Signs of infection
- Severe stomach pain
- Dark-colored urine
- Yellowing of the skin
If you have any of these serious side effects, it’s essential to contact a doctor right away. This medication can also cause too high potassium levels in some people, which is a medical emergency.
Signs of high potassium (hyperkalemia):
- Slow or irregular heartbeat
- Muscle weakness
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations
- Chest pain
If you have any of the following signs of high potassium, you should seek immediate medical assistance.
How Much Water Should I Drink When Taking Spironolactone?
Because spironolactone is a diuretic that causes your kidneys to eliminate excess water, it also has the potential to cause dehydration. Drinking water and eating fruits and vegetables that have a high water content, such as watermelon or celery, may help you stay hydrated.
Should You Drink More Water on Spironolactone?
Not necessarily. Everyone’s individual fluid needs are unique. However, research from the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has suggested that an adequate amount of daily water intake is about 15.5 cups per day for men, and 11.5 cups a day for women. As you can see, this is a more considerable amount than 8 glasses a day.
If you have kidney or heart disease, you may have fluid restrictions. Therefore, you may not be able to drink as much water as the average person taking spironolactone. It’s essential to contact a doctor if you have heart or kidney disease to ensure the medication is safe for you. Spironolactone is not always recommended for those who are on dialysis.
A doctor can also determine how much water is safe for you to drink.
If you start experiencing excessive thirst while taking this medication or have questions or concerns about how much water you are drinking, you should consult a doctor.
When to Drink Water?
It’s important to stay adequately hydrated while taking this medication. As a rule of thumb, appropriate times to drink water are with each meal; before, during, and after exercise, as well as when you feel thirsty.
You should also watch for the following signs that your body is dehydrated:
- Infrequent urination
- Excessive Thirst
- Dark urine
Tips for Staying Hydrated While Taking Spironolactone
- Use a journal to track how much you are drinking
- Set an alarm or a reminder to drink water
- Limit alcohol and caffeine, which can be dehydrating
- Keep water near you throughout the day
- Eat fruits or vegetables with a high water content, such as watermelon or cucumber
When to See a Doctor?
If you are taking spironolactone, and have questions about how much water you should be drinking, or are concerned about any side effects you are experiencing while taking this drug, it’s time to contact a doctor.
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Spironolactone is a prescription drug that is used to treat conditions such as heart failure, treatment-resistant high-blood pressure, and edema from liver and kidney disease, among other uses.
Spironolactone is a potassium-sparing diuretic, also known as a “water pill.” Because it causes your kidneys to eliminate excess water from your body, it can cause dehydration.
How much water you should drink while taking spironolactone can vary from person to person. It will depend on your health, age, and medical conditions; thus, it’s best to consult a doctor.
Spironolactone is well-tolerated in many people. However, it can cause some serious side effects, such as high potassium (hyperkalemia). If you have questions about managing this medicine’s side effects or whether it’s right for you, it’s time to contact a doctor.
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- Batterink, J., Stabler, S. N., Tejani, A. M., & Fowkes, C. T. (2010). Spironolactone for hypertension. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews, (8), CD008169. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD008169.pub2
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- Meds Safety. (2022, April 13). How much water should I drink when taking spironolactone? Meds Safety. Retrieved August 29, 2022, from https://medssafety.com/how-much-water-should-i-take-when-taking-spironolactone/
- Patibandla, S., Heaton, J., & Kyaw, H. (2022). Spironolactone. In StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32119308/
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DrHouse articles are written by MDs, NPs, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. The contents of the DrHouse site are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you are experiencing high fever (>103F/39.4C), shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest pain, heart palpitations, abnormal bruising, abnormal bleeding, extreme fatigue, dizziness, new weakness or paralysis, difficulty with speech, confusion, extreme pain in any body part, or inability to remain hydrated or keep down fluids or feel you may have any other life-threatening condition, please go to the emergency department or call 911 immediately.