Aldactone (spironolactone) is an aldosterone receptor antagonist medication that is sometimes used off-label in the treatment of hormonal acne in women. DERMAdoctor states that Aldactone mimics androgen hormones in the body, enabling it to bind to androgen receptors and reduce levels of natural androgen. According to the Acne Resource Center Online, androgen plays a significant role in oil production by the sebaceous glands, and reducing oil production helps improve or eliminate acne in some women.
Visit your dermatologist for a complete exam and hormone testing. Not all cases of adult acne are related to excess androgen. According to Acne Resource Center Online, you are more likely to benefit from taking Aldactone if you also suffer from irregular periods, obesity, diabetes, infertility or other symptoms and conditions associated with a hormonal imbalance.
Begin with a dose of 25 mg, once per day, unless your doctor instructs otherwise. The American Academy of Family Physicians states that doses of 100 to 200 mg daily may be necessary to treat hormonal acne in adult women. Your doctor will devise a plan to gradually increase your dose to this level.
Take your medication in the morning, at the same time each day, and with a meal or a full glass of water. If you are to take Aldactone twice daily, split the doses evenly, with one dose in the morning and the second before bed.
Continue taking Aldactone even if you do not notice improvement in your acne right away. It may take several weeks for the medication to become fully effective, according to EverythingAcne.com.
Speak with your doctor if you have concerns about side effects caused by this medication. According to Drugs.com, normal side effects of Aldactone include mild nausea, headache, dizziness, stomach pain and increased gas. These side effects generally lessen within a few months of beginning treatment. Taking birth control pills in combination with Aldactone may reduce the severity of side effects. A study published in the November 2002 issue of Journal of Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery found that use of Aldactone in the treatment of acne was safe, and that side effects, while common, are rarely cause for discontinuation of therapy.
Tell your doctor before taking Aldactone if you are already taking potassium supplements, amiloride, triamtereme, ACE inhibitors, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, barbiturates, diuretics, narcotic pain relievers or oral steroids. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) states that these medications may interact with Aldactone. Also, tell your doctor if you have kidney or liver disease or if you are pregnant. Do not breastfeed while taking this medication.
Avoid drinking alcohol while taking Aldactone to treat acne. Doing so can cause lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting, according to the NIH.
Reduce or eliminate potassium-rich foods, such as bananas, raisins, prunes, raisins and orange juice, from your diet. Drugs.com also recommends limiting your sodium intake, as sodium causes the body to retain water and may make Aldactone less effective.
Store this medication in a tightly sealed container, out of the reach of children. Do not keep Aldactone in warm or moist locations, such as in your bathroom or near your kitchen sink.
Keep all appointments with your doctor, and undergo frequent blood testing to make sure the medication is working and is not causing harmful effects. Your hormone levels need to be monitored so that your doctor can adjust your dose when necessary.
- Acne Resource Center Online: Treatments for Hormonally Influenced Acne in Women
- American Academy of Family Physicians: Use of Systemic Agents in the Treatment of Acne Vulgaris
- EverythingAcne.com: Spironolactone (Aldactone)
- American Academy of Dermatology: Hormonal Therapies Offer Effective Solutions for Many Adult Women With Acne
- Shaw JC, White LE. Long-term safety of spironolactone in acne: results of an 8-year followup study. J Cutan Med Surg. 2002 Nov-Dec;6(6):541-5.