What are the Different Uses of Topical Spironolactone?

Jennifer Long

Topical spironolactone has multiple conditions and problems that it is prescribed to treat. Most commonly it is used to treat acne in women as well as hair loos in men and occasionally also in women. Spironolactone is used in other forms to treat conditions such as hyperaldosteronism and fluid retention.

Topical spironolactone can be used to treat hormonal acne.
Topical spironolactone can be used to treat hormonal acne.

This medication belongs to a category of drugs called potassium-sparing diuretics, more specifically called aldosterone antagonists. Aldosterone is a type of hormone that mimics male hormones and is produced by the adrenal glands. In normal amounts, it helps to balance electrolytes and balance fluids in the body. This hormone works in conjunction with the kidneys to absorb sodium and redistribute it throughout the body. When aldosterone levels are too high, there is more sodium dumped into the blood, ultimately resulting in elevated blood pressure and other complications including excessive hair growth and acne.

Side effects topical spironolactone include stomach cramps and an irregular menstrual cycle.
Side effects topical spironolactone include stomach cramps and an irregular menstrual cycle.

Men use topical spironolactone for a variety of issues, but its primary use is issues relating to hair growth. In some men, hair loss is an issue. Too much hair, known as hirsutism, is a problem for other men. Topical spironolactone is one of the treatments that can be used to treat both of these conditions. Most of the other uses for topical spironolactone are off-label, which means that it has the possibility of being effective for many different uses than what it was originally intended.

Topical spironolactone are most effective for women who suffer from excessive hair growth, pre-menopausal syndrome (PMS), and acne that are all a result of higher levels of aldosterone in the body. The medication works to block the body’s production of this hormone, which in turn lowers the levels. In many cases, doctors will prescribe this medication to be used along with an oral contraceptive to help balance out female and male hormones. In women, hirsutism is generally related to hormones and, like treating acne, this topical medication can be used to treat the hair growth problem when other treatments fail.

Common side effects are minimal. Patients may experience an increase in thirst and dry mouth, changes in blood pressure, and an increase in potassium. Some women may also experience tender breasts, an irregular menstrual cycle, and stomach cramps.

Immediate medical attention is necessary if any serious side effects occur while using topical spironolactone. These side effects include an allergic reaction noticed from rash, difficulty breathing, or hives. Additionally, if mental confusion or a yellowing of the eyes or skin occur, it is important to receive emergency care.

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