Misconceptions about Spironolactone and weight loss/gain are a genuine concern for many.
Strictly speaking, it’s not a weight loss pill or supplement.
However, some users of this prescription medicine claim to have achieved weight loss results. On the contrary, many others also have reported an increase in weight after having Spironolactone.
A lot of individuals who are struggling to achieve the ideal body weight are willing to try anything that can help them lose weight. And this pill happens to be one such medication.
What is Spironolactone?
According to Drugs.com, “Spironolactone is a potassium-sparing diuretic (water pill) that prevents your body from absorbing too much sodium and keeps your potassium levels from getting too low.”
Brand Aldactone is one of the most popular FDA-approved brands of Spironolactone pills sold in drug stores.
This prescription medicine is used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure.
It is also a potential diuretic that works well for treating symptoms of water retention in the body. This pill can help remove excess body fluid and sodium from the body.
Spironolactone also is used to diagnose and treat hyperaldosteronism, a condition that causes too much production of aldosterone hormone by the adrenal gland.
This diuretic medicine is beneficial for treating:
- Hyperaldosteronism is caused by an excess amount of aldosterone
- Excess water retention in the body
- Congestive heart failure
- Hepatic cirrhosis
- Resistant hypertension
- Nephrotic syndrome
- Hirsutism in women (excess hair growth on face or body)
- Acne in women
- Female pattern hair loss
- Hypokalemia (potassium deficiency)
Spironolactone Weight Loss
Many patients who have Spironolactone may experience a reduction in body weight because of their diuretic effect.
Water is the single largest constituent of the human body; about 60% of total body mass is from water weight. Excess water retention in the body is one of the common reasons that make people overweight.
At best, a person can lose 5 pounds of weight by relieving the water retention in the body impacted by this pill.
Weight loss with Spironolactone pills is possible because this pill reduces excess water retention in the body. Using these pills for weight loss; in the long term, it isn’t a beneficial solution. The weight will return once the pill is stopped; in short, it’s not healthy, specifically for weight loss.
When this pill is administered at a particular dose for weight loss, the body will respond by increasing aldosterone release. The weight loss result from Spironolactone is transient unless higher doses are administered.
Some prescription medicines like Spirnoloctone may help in gaining or losing weight. Such unintentional outcomes depend on the specific health condition of an individual. But without professional medical advice, off-label use of medicines should be avoided.
Medical associations and healthcare providers are cautious to avoid using it for off-label purposes like weight management.
Does Spironolactone Cause Weight Gain
‘Spironolactone weight gain’ is not true. There is no verified evidence supporting the possibility of weight gain caused by this pill. On the other hand, most patients who have this pill tend to lose weight because it is a purgative medicine.
Some patients might experience an increase in weight during medication because of an increase in appetite or due to fatigue and lower activity that happens over an extended period while the treatment is in progress.
The patient should take only the dosage recommended by the physician; taking Spironolactone pills in a higher dosage may trigger digestive and metabolic issues that may cause weight gain.
The patient must minimize the intake of potassium while on this medicine. Consuming a lot of it may cause problems like muscle weakness or dangerous heart rhythm.
Spironolactone has no effect on weight gain, irregular menstruation, or other prominent PCOS symptoms.
Insulin resistance could also be one of the prime reasons for the increase in body weight during medication.
Side Effects of Spironolactone
Spironolactone is precisely a prescription medicine that should be taken only under the strict guidance of a doctor.
It essentially produces counteractions against the functions of aldosterone (a hormone regulating water and salt balance).
It is an expellant pill that expels sodium and water through urine while retaining potassium.
Spironolactone increases diuresis and consequently has antihypertensive properties which lead to the lowering of blood pressure.
Continuous use of Spironolactone pills may result in urine and serum electrolyte imbalance leading to hyperkalemia in the body. This condition can potentially precipitate heart failure.
Having foods rich in potassium or using such supplements while taking this pill can aggravate the hyperkalemia condition.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states an overt warning Spironolactone (sold under the brand name Aldactone) has been shown to have tumorigenic potential (causing cancer) in chronic toxicity studies in rats.
The common side effects of Spironolactone are transient and gradually disappear after the completion of treatment.
Here are the common side effects of drugs such as:
- Dizziness, unsteadiness, tiredness, and headache;
- Stomach pain, cramps, diarrhea, or vomiting;
- Excess thirstiness and dryness in the mouth
- Appears to decrease testosterone
- Irregular menstrual periods and post-menopausal vaginal bleeding
- Erectile dysfunction
- Increased hair growth on the body
- Breast pain in women and Gynecomastia in men
- Muscle pain, weakness, and cramps
In rare cases, a few of the patients who used Spironolactone in the past have reported certain side effects severe in nature like:
- Paralysis in the arms or legs
- Extreme tiredness, fainting, and mental confusion;
- Incessant bleeding or eruption of bruises;
- Severe skin reactions and allergies;
- Severe abdominal pain, loss of appetite, bloody stools, or vomiting blood;
- Shortness of breath.
Should You Take Spironolactone For Weight Loss
Spironolactone helps in weight loss in some, but no peer-reviewed studies or healthcare professionals recommend it for weight management.
Being a purgative pill helps in flushing out excess fluid retained in the body. Sudden loss of excess fluid from the body will definitely reduce your body fat for a short-term period.
One of the possible side effects of this pill is the loss of appetite; this can certainly produce some impact on weight loss with reduced intake of calories and fat.
Weight loss resulting from it is not a general effect on all patients who consume this pill. Patients with excess water retention in the body will experience a few pounds of weight loss but for others nothing. It is not a prescription medicine for slimming or belly fat loss.
It is unhealthy and may produce potentially hazardous side effects if spironolactone is consumed for a prolonged period. You are not advised to have this pill unless recommended by your physician for a specifically approved medical indication.
If you suffer from any form of edema (excessive fluid retention) caused by various hormones, liver, heart, or kidney conditions, then using Spironolactone as prescribed by a medical professional will reduce the excess fluid in the body. This may result in weight loss for a temporary period.
Without professional medical advice, prescription medicines should not be sued for any reason.
The Bottom Line
If you’re taking Spironolactone for weight loss, it isn’t healthy. It isn’t a fat loss medicine or diet pill approved by the U.S FDA.
What you need for slimming is a diet combined with balanced nutrition and exercise.
Some patients might experience a temporary reduction in the water weight of the body because of the diuretic nature of this pill. Also, a decrease in appetite is its side effect.
They are exclusively meant for treating specific medical conditions and not for weight loss.
There’s also no scientific evidence that proves the Spironolactone weight gain effects as reported by a few patients in the past.