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Spironolactone was the 69th most commonly prescribed drug in the United States in 2017. In that year alone, there were over 11,641,507 prescriptions. Considering how popular this drug is right now, it pays to know a little bit more about this medication, including how long spironolactone stays in your system.

Basic Information

Spironolactone has an oral bioavailability between 80 to 90 percent. This drug has a short half-life, so it does not stay in the body for long periods of time.


What is the half-life of spironolactone?

Spironolactone has a half-life of 1.4 hours. For those who have cirrhosis (a form of chronic liver damage), this medication has a higher half-life of 9 hours.

How long does spironolactone stay in your system?

Spironolactone’s short half-life means that it does not remain in your system for long. However, metabolites from this medication do have longer half-lives. These metabolites may stay in your body for several days before they are eliminated. This fact should be kept in mind for those who participate in sports and take spironolactone. The presence of this drug could cause problems for sport-related drug tests, since it is considered a banned diuretic due to its potential performance-enhancing effects.

Can you stop taking spironolactone suddenly?

You should not stop taking spironolactone suddenly, since this action could cause a rebound in terms of water retention or blood pressure levels. Having sudden water retention or high blood pressure could raise your risk of serious health problems.

How long does it take for spironolactone to work as a diuretic?

Spironolactone has been shown to have a slow onset with higher responses occurring roughly 48 hours after the initial dose. Those who take this medication may experience decreases in water retention or reduced blood pressure levels within a short amount of time.

Disclaimer: this article does not constitute or replace medical advice. If you have an emergency or a serious medical question, please contact a medical professional or call 911 immediately. To see our full medical disclaimer, visit our Terms of Use page.


Generic Name: Spironolactone


Class: Aldosterone antagonist, potassium-sparing diuretic

Availability: Prescription

Molecular Formula: C24H32O4S

Substance UNII: 27O7W4T232

What is Spironolactone?

Spironolactone is an aldosterone antagonist and potassium-sparing diuretic. It is often sold under the trade names Aldactone and CaroSpir.

What is Spironolactone Used For?

The FDA has approved spironolactone for the treatment of heart failure, hypertension, edema associated with nephrotic syndrome or hepatic cirrhosis, and primary hyperaldosteronism. People also sometimes use it to treat acne or to promote weight loss.

How Does Spironolactone Work?

Spironolactone works by blocking the activity of aldosterone, a steroid hormone associated with water retention. This fluid retention can cause certain problems to worsen such as kidney, heart, or liver diseases or conditions. Taking this medication causes higher amounts of water and sodium to be eliminated, thereby reducing water retention.

Spironolactone also prevents your body from excreting or getting rid of potassium. Notably, potassium helps reduce water retention through promoting urination and excretion of sodium during urination.

How Long Does It Take for Spironolactone to Work?

The time it takes for this drug to work depends on what it is being used for and other factors, such as the presence of other medical conditions and dosage being taken. A 2012 study found that it generally takes a few weeks for spironolactone to become effective when it is used for treating acne.

Do Not Use Spironolactone If:

There are several situations where this medication may not be the right choice for you. According to the FDA, the following should not use spironolactone:

  • Patients with hyperkalemia (high potassium)
  • Patients with Addison’s disease (hypocortisolism or adrenal insufficiency)
  • Patients who are using eplerenone (Inspra)

Please note that this list may not be complete, and there may be other situations where use of this drug is not advisable.

Disclaimer: this article does not constitute or replace medical advice. If you have an emergency or a serious medical question, please contact a medical professional or call 911 immediately. To see our full medical disclaimer, visit our Terms of Use page.

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