Spironolactone for Acne and Hair Disorders

Spironolactone is what is known as a “potassium-sparing diuretic.” The chemical structure of spironolactone resembles testosterone, thus blocking some of the effects of testosterone on the oil glands and hair follicles. Although it cannot be used in males due to its antihormone effects, it is very effective for females with acne of the jawline, neck and chin. It may also reduce unwanted dark facial hair and block hair thinning in women.

Checklist of potential side effects, precautions and other concerns:

  • Dizziness/lightheadedness/low blood pressure, monitor your blood pressure with a home blood pressure cuff.
  • Do not take spironolactone concurrently with Bactrim® (TMP-SMX) or lithium carbonate.
  • Small risk of breast tenderness/enlargement, and/or irregular periods.
  • Elevated potassium, we usually monitor potassium levels in people taking ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), salt substitutes, potassium, SSRI’s and/or NSAID’s.
  • Do not take this medication if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
  • Use a reliable form of birth control.
  • Males should not take this medication.
  • No personal or family history of breast cancer in a first degree relative.
  • No history of kidney disease or heart disease.
  • Stop the medication and call us if you think you are having any adverse effects.

Please avoid eating excessive amounts of foods which have high potassium levels. High-Potassium Foods: Apricots, artichokes, avocados, bananas, beets and beet greens, brussels sprouts, cantaloupe, dates, nectarines, oranges and orange juice, parsnips, potatoes, potato chips, prunes and prune juice, pumpkin, spinach, sweet potatoes, swiss chard, tomatoes and tomato juice, vegetable juice.