Spironolactone, also known by its brand name Aldactone, is a drug used for treating a variety of disorders including high blood pressure, fluid retention as well as hormonal acne. Many women having acne, who have not seen positive results with over-the-counter or prescription systemic/topical acne drugs have experienced clearer skin with this medicine. The US FDA has not specifically approved Spironolactone for acne, but dermatologists the world over are prescribing it off label to women with severe hormonal acne breakouts.
How does Spironolactone acne treatment work?
Spironolactone acne treatment has an anti–androgen action. This means that it acts against the group of male hormones called androgens which are produced more in some women and believed to be the reason behind their acne breakouts. Aldactone blocks the androgen receptors and prevents the cells from absorbing these male hormones. This helps reduce hormonal fluctuations causing the acne.
Research on Spironolactone
Spironolactone acne treatment works only on women having hormonal acne. Studies conducted on this drug show that nearly 68% women with tendency towards hormonal acne breakouts experienced improvement or complete clearing of their skin with Spironolactone. When Aldactone was prescribed along with oral contraceptives, this number jumped to 85%.
Common Usage directions for Aldactone
When taking Spironolactone acne treatment, dermatologists start with 50 to 100mg daily dose. The lowest dose is usually prescribed first to see the results and gradually worked up to the target dose over the course of next few weeks. Doctors also take complete medical history of the patient to determine appropriate dosage based on individual situations.
Generally, the medicine should be taken with a meal to prevent upset stomach. Patients must drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water as Spironolactone is a diuretic. One must also be patient as results are not immediate. Most women start noticing clearer skin after a few weeks of taking the medicine as prescribed. If any side effects of Spironolactone acne treatment are noticed, it is important to notify the provider.
General Guidelines for taking Spironolactone
Dermatologists generally take complete blood work of the patient prior to prescribing Spironolactone acne treatment. This helps determine if patient is pregnant. Also, if one chooses to continue with the Aldactone treatment, then regular lab work is necessary. If the doctor decides to increase the dosage, then periodic lab work can ensure that the drug is not harming the kidneys and increasing the blood potassium levels.
Possible side effects of Spironolactone
Low dose Spironolactone acne treatment generally does not have any side effects. In some women taking higher doses of Aldactone, the following side effects may be seen:
- Irregular menstrual cycle with spotting
- Breast tenderness
- Constant thirst
- Dry mouth
- Nausea and vomiting
- Upset stomach, cramps or diarrhea
- Lower blood pressure
- Increased potassium levels in blood
Hence, women taking Spironolactone acne treatment are advised to regularly check their blood pressure levels as well as the potassium in blood. Pregnancy must be avoided when taking this drug as it can lead to severe birth defects. Those with kidney problems or a history of breast cancer or uterine or ovarian cancers must not be prescribed the Spironolactone acne treatment.