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The Truth about the Acne Drug called Spironolactone

If you haven’t heard of spironolactone, then you may have heard of the brand name version of this drug: Aldactone.

It’s used to treat people with an excess of the hormone aldosterone, which regulates the body’s sodium/potassium balance. Spironolactone is primarily a diuretic, used to treat fluid retention and help maintain or restore a healthy sodium/potassium balance. It’s usually used to treat conditions such as high blood pressure, heart failure, potassium deficiency, and fluid retention. [1]

Spironolactone for Acne

So what does this have to do with acne? One of the things that a low dose of spironolactone can do is block androgens. Androgens are hormones essential in both men and women, though androgens are often thought of as “male hormones.” (For example, testosterone is one type of androgen). [2]

Because spironolactone blocks some androgen production, it’s often used to treat excess body hair on women (called hirsutism), as well as excess sebum production (oily skin). [3] It’s usually prescribed only to women for these conditions, since it blocks these “male hormones.” [4]

Spironolactone has been used for over two decades now by dermatologists for the treatment of acne, and it is generally considered a safe product when used at appropriate levels. [5] The results are not usually immediate (the most common recommendation is to expect results after about three months of use), so spironolactone is not a quick fix. Dosages can vary (talk to your doctor about this), but most professionals advise patience with this drug, rather than increasing or maintaining a high dosage. [6]

Is Spironolactone Safe?

As with any prescription drug, you should be honest with your doctor about any medical conditions you have, and if you’re already taking any medications or supplements.

That being said, studies done with spironolactone as an acne treatment show no long-term detrimental side effects. [7] There are of course some potential side effects, from mild to severe; common side-effects can be upset stomach or dizziness. [8] Always report any side effects or sudden physical or mental changes to your doctor if you’re taking spironolactone.

If you’ve tried other acne medications for your adult acne and still haven’t seen the results you want, talk to your dermatologist. With consistent monitoring by your doctor, spironolactone might be right for you.

*Disclaimer: The Acne Lie is not run by licensed dermatologists or medical professionals. Always talk to a doctor before you make drastic dietary changes or begin taking any prescription or over-the-counter drug.

1. http://www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/aldactone

2. http://e.hormone.tulane.edu/learning/androgens.html

3. http://www.aocd.org/?page=Spironolactone

4. https://intothegloss.com/2015/03/spironolactone-acne/

5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3315877/

6. https://www.realself.com/question/the-effective-dosage-spironolactone-fight-acne

7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12219252

8. https://www.drugs.com/sfx/spironolactone-side-effects.html

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