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What are the Common Spironolactone Side Effects?

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  • Written By: K. Gierok
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 31 October 2016
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The prescription medication spironolactone is commonly used in the treatment of high blood pressure. Though it has been found to be highly effective, it has numerous side effects that can be quite serious. Some of the most common spironolactone side effects include changes in menstrual cycle. In addition, high potassium in the blood stream has also been linked to the use of spironolactone. In severe cases, some may develop breast cancer through spironolactone use. Other serious side effects of this medication include kidney failure, liver inflammation, and gastric bleeding. In some cases, an allergic reaction can occur.

Some of the most common spironolactone side effects include changes in menstrual cycles and severe cramps. In some cases, these cramps can be so severe as to require short-term hospitalization. Changes in menstrual cycle that may occur as a result of spironolactone use may include the complete lack of a menstrual cycle or the renewal of menstruation in women who have already gone through menopause. Typically, once spironolactone is discontinued, these menstrual abnormalities disappear. Those who require spironolactone use for an extended period of time and develop these symptoms are, in some cases, switched to a different medication that does not provide the same effects.

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Spironolactone side effects may also include the development of high levels of potassium in the blood stream. This occurs primarily in those who are also taking an angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor, though it can occur in conjunction with other medications. When high potassium in the blood is left untreated, it can lead to the development of a serious condition known as hyperkalemia. This condition can be very damaging to both the heart and other parts of the cardiovascular system, and in some cases can lead to heart failure. Patients who have been prescribed spironolactone should carefully examine their other medications in order to make sure they have not already been prescribed an ACE inhibitor.

Some studies have suggested that spironolactone side effects may include the development of breast cancer in both men and women. Other serious, chronic conditions that have been linked to spironolactone use include kidney failure, liver inflammation, and gastric bleeding. Some patients who have been prescribed spironolactone may suffer from severe allergic reactions such as shortness of breath and severe skin rashes. Those who believe that they may be suffering from an allergic reaction due to spironolactone use should seek medical assistance as soon as possible.

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