What is this medication?
Aldosterone antagonists are diuretics or “water pills.” They may also be called aldosterone receptor blockers (ARBs).
Aldosterone antagonists include:
- Eplerenone (Inspra®)
- Spirinolactone (Aldactone®)
- Generic names are listed first.
- Canadian brand names are in brackets.
- This list doesn’t include every brand name.
- If your prescription isn’t listed, your pharmacist is the best source for more information.
What does it do?
These drugs treat high blood pressure and heart failure. They do it by helping your kidneys produce more urine. The more you pee, the more excess salt and water you flush out of your body. This makes it easier for your heart to pump.
Key facts about diuretics:
- Ease your heart’s workload.
- Lower your blood pressure.
- Can relieve shortness of breath.
- Reduce swelling and bloating.
- Make you pee more often.
Be aware: Aldosterone antagonists control high blood pressure, but do not cure it. Even if you feel well, do not stop taking it unless instructed by your healthcare provider.
How do I take it?
Because it’s a diuretic, this medication can affect your routine. If you take an aldosterone antagonist:
- Your kidneys will make more urine. So you will need to use the bathroom more often.
- To avoid getting up at night, try taking your medication at least six hours before bedtime.
- You may be asked to restrict your fluids.
- Limit the amount of salt you consume.
- Do not use salt substitutes without talking to your healthcare provider.
- Spironolactone can be taken with or without food.
- Spironolactone might make you drowsy.
- Avoid driving until you know if you are affected.
Are there any interactions?
Some medications can stop your heart medicine from working properly. They may even cause other health problems.
- Alcohol can add to your medication’s drowsy effect.
- Potassium supplements should only be used as directed by your healthcare provider.
Tell your healthcare provider and pharmacist about all the medications you are taking. These include:
- Non-prescription drugs
- Creams or ointments
- Over-the-counter or natural health products
- Alternative therapies
- Vitamins, minerals or supplements
- Herbal remedies
- Homeopathic medicines
- Traditional remedies, such as Chinese medicines
Are there any side effects?
Like any medication, diuretics can cause side effects.
The most common include:
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded.
- Upset stomach. Taking your medication with food might help.
- Dry mouth. Try chewing gum or sucking on hard candies. It is important NOT to drink more fluids.
- Skin rash.
- Muscle cramps or spasms.
- Swelling and tenderness of the breasts (in men and women).
Be aware: Aldosterone antagonists may increase your potassium levels. You might have muscle weakness, fatigue, or a low heart rate. If you experience any of these symptoms, tell your healthcare provider.
If you have side effects, talk to your pharmacist or healthcare provider.
Lifestyle changes that can also help
There are two ways to control and manage your heart health: medication and lifestyle.
Medication can help you control heart disease and high blood pressure, but it cannot cure it.
A healthy lifestyle can help you keep medication to a minimum.
Visit heartandstroke.ca/get-healthy. Learn how to keep your heart healthy with current information and advice from Heart and Stroke Foundation experts.
Talk to your healthcare provider about the most beneficial lifestyle goals for you.
Your healthcare provider or pharmacist are your best sources of information. You can also learn more about medications at any of these trusted sites.
Health Canada - Drugs and Health Products
Provides health and medical information for Canadians to maintain and improve their health.
Learn more about:
- Safe Use of Medicines
- Safety and Effectiveness of Generic Drugs
- Buying drugs over the Internet
- Drug Product Database
- MedEffect Canada
Provides safety alerts, public health advisories, warnings and recalls.
Your ministry of health also offers health resources in your province or territory. For example, Ontario’s MedsCheck program provides free pharmacist consultations. And British Columbia’s Senior Healthcare web page provides information about important health programs.