Spironolactone and Weight Loss: Does It Work?

By Alicia Wooldridge, MD
Medically reviewed checkmarkMedically reviewed
July 5, 2022

Spironolactone is a medication used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure that can also be used for weight loss. If you are taking spironolactone or considering taking it for weight management, do so only after consulting a medical specialist. 

In this article, we’ll explore what spironolactone is and what it is used for.

We’ll also look at its side effects and other ways to manage weight. 

What Is Spironolactone (Aldactone)?

Spironolactone is a water pill in a class of medications called potassium-sparing diuretics. Medical professionals prescribe it to treat heart conditions.

Spironolactone works by eliminating the body’s ability to absorb salts and sodium, which in turn causes you to pee out excess water. It also helps the body maintain balanced potassium levels. 

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Uses

Spironolactone is prescribed to treat:

High blood pressure

Spironolactone helps reduce high blood pressure (hypertension) by keeping the body’s salt, sodium, and potassium levels in check. 

Heart failure

When the heart does not pump with enough force (called systolic dysfunction), medical providers may prescribe spironolactone alongside other medications to reduce the risk of heart failure and other cardiovascular events.

Swelling in lower extremities

When your body retains too much fluid, body parts can swell. This sometimes happens due to heart disease, liver failure, or kidney ailments.

Spironolactone helps expel this excess fluid. 

Acne

Hormones such as testosterone can cause the skin to produce excess oils, leading to acne. Spironolactone slows the body’s production of androgen hormones and may be prescribed to treat acne, excess hair growth, and other symptoms of PCOS.

However, more research is necessary to prove that spironolactone is an effective acne treatment.

Other uses

Spironolactone may also help with:

  • Changes in hair growth
  • Stroke prevention
  • Hyperaldosteronism
  • Edema
  • Medical gender transition
  • Hyperplasia

Does Spironolactone Cause Weight Loss?

While there is no scientific research that proves spironolactone causes weight loss, people may lose weight when taking the medication due to the loss of bodily fluids.

Effectiveness

Spironolactone effectively reduces fluid retention, however, it is not effective in eliminating body fat. It is not a long-term or safe method for weight loss.

Potential Side Effects

Side effects of spironolactone include:

Safety and Precautions

Only take spironolactone under the guidance of a medical professional.

Drink plenty of water and other healthy fluids when taking any medication that expels body fluid, and avoid foods that are high in sodium and potassium. Before taking spironolactone, tell your healthcare provider about any other medications you take, or if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to conceive. 

Other Methods for Weight Loss

Spironolactone is not a long-term or sustainable method for weight loss.

Other ways to help manage weight include:

  • Being physically active: The key to maintaining a healthy weight or losing weight is to incorporate movement into your daily routine. Find an activity you enjoy, whether that’s walking, hiking, racquetball, a group fitness class, or anything else.
  • Changing your diet: Follow a calorie-deficit plan that suits your lifestyle and provides the nutrition you need. See a registered dietitian if you desire personalized help.
  • Staying hydrated: Drinking a sufficient amount of water throughout the day helps boost metabolism, prevents your body from retaining fluids due to dehydration, and may keep you from making unhealthy food or lifestyle choices.

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When to See a Medical Professional

If you want to lose weight, start by increasing your activity and eating a healthier diet. If you have an unhealthy relationship with food or medication, seek medical help.

Consuming medication that is not designed for weight loss in the hope that it will cause weight loss may cause side effects. 

If you notice any bothersome symptoms when taking spironolactone, consult a medical expert. If you take extra doses of your medication or have not been able to stick to your prescribed dosage, call 911 or visit the emergency room. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can you lose weight by taking spironolactone?
Spironolactone is a medication used to treat high blood pressure or heart failure, or help balance potassium levels in the body. As such, it may prevent your body from absorbing excess salt. This may reduce fluid retention and could result in a short-term reduction in weight. However, spironolactone should not be used as a method of weight loss.
Does spironolactone speed up metabolism?
Spironolactone does not have any effect on metabolic rate, but it does impact androgen levels, which may affect things like body fat distribution.
Does spironolactone help with weight gain?
Spironolactone is not used to regulate weight. It may only help reduce weight gain caused by fluid retention.
K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

Alicia Wooldridge, MD

Dr. Alicia Wooldridge is a board certified Family Medicine physician with over a decade of experience.