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Research examining the interactions between spironolactone and pregnancy have found a higher risk of problems with sex differentiation in male fetuses. Research has shown these results in rat embryos, although more research is needed on the effects of this medication in human fetuses.

As a result, spironolactone and pregnancy risks should be discussed with a medical provider prior to taking this medication. Anti-androgenic properties in spironolactone are responsible for these higher risks in male fetuses. These risks must be weighed against the potential pregnancy risks associated with unmanaged to untreated heart failure, hypertension (high blood pressure), or cirrhosis (a type of chronic liver damage).

Spironolactone and Breastfeeding

Spironolactone has not been found in human breast milk, although research on taking this medication while lactating is limited. While very low levels of active metabolites from spironolactone are detectable in human breast milk, experts have not discovered adverse effects with short-term exposure. The long-term effects of spironolactone on nursing infants is not known. Spironolactone is not known to cause any problems with the production of breast milk.


Is it safe to take spironolactone while pregnant?

Spironolactone carries certain risks for pregnant women. Those who usually take this medication or those who are considering taking this medication should discuss potential risks with their medical provider if they are trying to get pregnant or if they are currently pregnant. However, pregnant women should also keep in mind that untreated or poorly managed hypertension, cirrhosis, or heart failure can raise the risk of serious pregnancy complications.

Does spironolactone make it harder to get pregnant?

Spironolactone might cause difficulties conceiving, since it may lead to lower testosterone levels. These lower levels could lead to male fertility problems.

Is spironolactone safe to take while pregnant?

Pregnant women should review the risks associated with spironolactone with their medical provider in order to determine if it is safe for them to take. If not, they should discuss alternative medications if they have hypertension, heart failure, or cirrhosis.

Are diuretics safe while breastfeeding?

Diuretics, or “water pills,” are generally considered safe to use while breastfeeding. Women who are currently nursing or those who plan on nursing should still talk to their medical provider about the use of diuretics to ensure that these medications are safe for their unique pregnancies.

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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