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Spironolactone and Weight Loss

Spironolactone and Weight Loss

Spironolactone is a drug that is prescribed for the treatment of conditions such as primary hyperaldosteronism, hormonal acne, hypokalemia, and hirsutism. Weight loss that might result following the use of spironolactone is due to its diuretic properties. This Buzzle write-up provides some information about this drug.
Smita Pandit
Spironolactone is a potassium-sparing diuretic that helps in lowering the levels of aldosterone, which is a hormone that is secreted by the adrenal glands. Aldosterone is a naturally-occurring hormone that helps in regulating the balance of electrolytes and bodily fluids in the bloodstream. It helps in the re-absorption of sodium in the body and aids in the excretion of potassium. Excess of anything is bad, and this holds true for this hormone as well. Excessive secretion of aldosterone by the adrenal glands can give rise to many health problems. For example, excessive production of aldosterone can cause the body to retain sodium. The levels of potassium might dip down to dangerously low levels as well. High levels of sodium give rise to water retention in the body, which in turn might cause one to gain weight.

Under these circumstances, doctors generally prescribe potassium-sparing diuretics such as spironolactone for tackling the problem of electrolyte and fluid imbalance in the body. Spironolactone, which is generally sold under the brand name of aldactone, helps in inhibiting the production of aldosterone. Therefore, it is used for treating hyperaldosteronism. Let's learn about the relation between the use of spironolactone and weight loss.

Fluid Retention and Weight Gain

As mentioned earlier, fluid retention in the body tissues is bound to occur if excessive amounts of aldosterone are secreted by the adrenal glands. Excessive accumulation of fluid in the body tissues often results in visible swelling and weight gain. If left untreated, this could lead to a host of untoward symptoms and health problems. Since spironolactone acts as an aldosterone receptor antagonist, it helps in reversing the effects of high levels of aldosterone. The use of this drug helps in flushing the excessive amounts of fluid and salt from the body by way of urine, while reducing the loss of potassium. When the fluids are not retained in the body tissues, one loses weight and the swelling reduces as well.

Low potassium levels in blood (hypokalemia), high blood pressure, muscle weakness, muscle spasms, headaches, fatigue, or other symptoms associated with hyperaldosteronism can also be alleviated with the help of this potassium-sparing diuretic. Due to its antiandrogen effects, the use of spironolactone is often recommended for the treatment of acne or hirsutism. So, the reason why this drug might help one lose weight is due to its ability to block the effects of aldosterone and prevent fluid retention in the body.

Is it Safe to Use Spironolactone for Weight Loss?

So, is using this potassium-sparing diuretic a healthy way to lose weight? First of all, this drug must always be used under medical supervision. Weight loss that follows after the use of this drug is only due to the draining of excess body fluid retained in the body tissues.

If not taken as per the prescribed dosage, one might experience certain untoward effects. These include:
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
If taken in high doses, one might also experience certain severe side effects such as:
  • Allergic reactions
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Enlargement of breasts in men
  • Menstrual irregularities in women
Before you start taking this drug, do make sure that you inform your doctor regarding any other drug that you are currently taking. This is to rule out the chances of adverse drug reactions.

One a concluding note, spironolactone may help in removing the excess fluid retained in body tissues, but it should not be looked upon as a weight loss solution. So, those of you who wish to get rid of chunks of fat, need to find a healthier way to lose weight. Following a healthy diet coupled with a proper exercise regimen will surely provide the results you have been looking for.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.