Trying Spironolactone...because I've Basically Tried Everyting Else.

So, in my endless struggle with acne I've finally...

So, in my endless struggle with acne I've finally decided to try Spironolactone. It was suggested to me by my dermatologist about a year ago, but when I did my research and found out it was a blood pressure medication being used off label for acne I said no way! Then...the I had a big increase in stress in my life and the breakouts got worse, and worse, and worse. I was to the point that I wasn't wanting to go to the gym in the morning because I dreaded having people see my skin without makeup on, and I skipped an event I had really wanted to go to because I was so embarrassed of the way my skin was looking.

I was started on 100mg of Spironolactone about 2.5 months ago. From the time I started taking the medicine I noticed myself not feeling great. I was lower on energy, and my endurance when running was about 3/4 of what it usually was. After taking it for about a month I started noticing little tiny "flutters" from my heart. Then, on a trip to the east coast with a very dear friend who also happens to be a anesthesiologist I had what he called a "vagal response" aka nearly passed out on the subway. Due to those things I decided to half my dose and am now taking 50mg's a day. At that point I had already had my blood tested to check my potassium levels, as this drug is known to retain potassium in the body, and my levels came back fine.

Overall I feel much better with the lower dose. I have definitely seen a decrease in my acne and hope that will continue to be the case even with the lower dose. 

Also, I do want to mention that I tend to have low blood pressure as is, and have fainted for unexplainable reasons in the past, so what I experienced during my trip isn't a completely foreign thing to me. It has been about two years since something like that has gone on though, so I'm not sure how much of it had to do with the Spironolactone and how much of it is just my weird little body!

Hopefully I'll see even better clearing of my skin soon!

Updated 12/6/12

I'm still taking 50mg's of Spiro a day. Unfortunately I have had a bit more breakouts over the last couple of weeks. Its been pretty small pimples, with much less of the large cystic type. That is definitely an improvement from before I was on Spiro, but not as good as the results I was seeing when I was on 100mg's. My derm's office said to let them know if I wanted to try 75mg, but honestly since I still don't feel great with the 50mg I'm not sure I want to up it any. Of course I do want to up it to get more clearing of my skin, but will stick with 50mgs for now and see what goes on. Ugh...seriously so sick of dealing with acne. I feel like it should be gone by the age I am now. Will continue to update as I see changes.

Updated 12/10/12

My skin continued to break out over the weekend. I'm going to give the Spiro at 50mg another month and hope things clear up, and this was just an "adjustment" phase...but I'm thinking the 100mgs is what would be needed to help, and I just don't think being on 100mg is worth it to me with the side effects I experienced. Lame.

Updated 1/9/12

I ended up going completely off the Spiro about a week or two ago. Of course I sick (completely unrelated) shortly there after so I haven't done my regular workouts for about a week. I'm hoping to start working out again later this week, and within a couple weeks I'm thinking I will have a good idea of how much the spiro was affecting my endurance. I'm nervous to even write this, but so far my skin has been remaining pretty clear. Its the week before my period too...but since I've been sick I haven't been wearing makeup so that might be helping. Guess we'll see what happens when I get back to my normal routine soon.

Was this review helpful?

Comments (25)

Sort by

Megan, I had the same reaction to Spiro. I passed out in the gym and had to quit my soccer team because of incredible heart pain (I played for 23 years, so this was unacceptable). I cut my dose in half, too. Still, it's been a year, and I still have acne. I feel your pain, girl =/
  • Reply

Yeah, it TOTALLY sucks. Oh well, we'll just keep trying different things hoping to find that magic combo.

  • Reply
Hi Megan, I came across your post about spiro, which I was intended to take it for hair growth. However, it upset me to hear that you have not find a solution for your acne. As a sufferer for many years , trying every diet, pills , cream on this planet, I finally got my clear skin with a product that cost less than $10. It's by clean and clear. I will update my acne review and will post picture of the exact product I used since the company got many products. It's called Persa-gel 10 10% benzoyl peroxide (MAXIMUM STRENGTH) I want you to trust me and go buy this one. You'll be amazed. At night time, I'll will apply the cream all over my face. It kind of drying my skin. Then, in the morning, in state of moisturizer I use Dr Fred Summit skin whitener . I can't tell you how happy I am to finally be able to wear my hair up and not trying to hide my face under. Please try it. It does miracle for me.
  • Reply

Thank you so much for sharing this with me!! I will definitely check out your update. :)

  • Reply
So sorry the Spiro made you feel yucky. It made me feel weird for the first month or so (I also have generally low blood pressure) but since then I guess my body got used to it (I take 100mg daily), and it has been the only thing ever to help with breakouts. I still break out, but far less (usually only around my period) and they seem to go away quicker. Did you try only taking the spiro right before bed? That seemed to help me with the faint feeling. Also have you tried the clarisonic mia? I have really seen an improvement in the texture of my skin since I've started using it, not to mention any serums or moisturizer seem to absorb better. The final change I made (not sure how much each step helped!) was to make sure I change my pillowcase and wash it after two days (meaning I only sleep on each side once). Seemed to me that sweat, any hair products, etc. would not be helpful to sleep on. good luck! :)
  • Reply

I'm glad your body got used to the Sprio, because it really does seem to work. I did try taking it at night, but that didn't help much unfortunately. :-/

I haven't tried the Clarisonic Mia specifically, but I did buy the original Clarisonic when it first came out and didn't love it (I think I'm the only person in the world). I have tried it a few times on & off, but lately have been wondering if I used it too long during each use (as in allowed the wash to stay on my face too long, and thus causing more harm that good). I've been thinking about trying it again.

As for the pillow cases, I currently change mine about once a week, but changing it every 2 days certainly sounds like something worth trying!

Thanks so much for sharing with me what has worked for you, I really appreciate it! :)

  • Reply
Have you ever tried Proactiv? Its worked great for me for over 10 years.
  • Reply

Yeah, I think Proactiv is a great product, but after a while it stopped working for me and I've found that I personally tend to prefer Dermalogica products. I appreciate the pointer though, cause you never know what might help! :)

  • Reply
I think Proactiv added a stronger strength product also that ive considered to combat the occasional breakout. I get cystic acne and it leaves awful scars. Also whats helped me is watching what moisturisers and makeup I use. Almay or anything hypo allergenic helps not clog pores. Life is so much better with clear skin! Im almost 37, hoped at my age I wouldnt have to worry about acne, its (very!) slowly getting better, sure is taking its sweet old time! Good luck and hope you find something that clears it up.
  • Reply

I agree, the moisturizer chosen makes a huge difference. I'm a fan of Dermalogica Active Moist, but I would use the Laura Mercier Repair Lotion if it wasn't so dang expensive!

I'm 35...really our skin needs to get inline - this stuff should have been gone the same day we donated our prom dresses to the Goodwill! ;)

  • Reply
Have you tried Diane 35? (its a bcp)- it really works :)
  • Reply

I haven't tried Diane 35. I've been on many, many different BCP's. Yasmin seemed to help with my skin, but then all the other health issues caused by it came to light and my doctor wanted me off of it. I'm currently on Ortho Tricyclin. I think its helping a little, but definitely not a cure all. I'll have to ask my doctor about Diane 35. Thanks for the tip!! :)

  • Reply
Diane 35 worked perfect for me. The only issue I had with it was my boobs went twice the size and my appetite increased. I'm on spiro right now for acne and at first I had strange side effects such as lower back ache and sleepy. This went away after 2 months. I'm on 100mg, any less and it doesn't work for me :(. When I'm off everything, this routine keeps it at bay (I read it in The Acne Cure). You get a 2% Salicyic acid face cleanser, Benozoyal peroxide cream (2% - 5%) and a cold pack to keep in the freezer. Morning and night you cleanse, put the ice pack on your face, after your face is cold put the benzoyal cream on your face. Cool again with ice pack. This works as good as anything. The draw back is, you have to stop wearing foundation for a while :(. Argh!! But it worked. Popping a spiro is easier for me though...
  • Reply

Thanks so much for sharing the routine you found! The ice pack is interesting. I wonder what it is about it that helps(?). I'm currently using Dermalogica's Clean Start wash which has 0.5% Salicylic Acid, and I also have their Overnight Clearing Gel which is a 2% SA. I feel like if I use the gel every night my skin gets irritated. I would think it would be raw if I added Benozoyl Peroxide on as well. Did that routine ever make your skin sensitive?

100mg of Spiro was definitely working acne wise, but my body just wasn't tolerating it. I sure wish it had because I was loving the results as far as my skin went. I'm so glad you are able to tolerate that amount - so lucky!!

  • Reply
Hi Megan, How long does your dr recommend u stay on spiro? Thx
  • Reply

We didn't really discuss an end point. At this time I have refills for a year, then we would re-evaluate at that time I guess.

  • Reply
I also wanted to ask, since you've been on Acutane and Retin-A gel and the like, have you tried birth control pills?
  • Reply

Yeah, I think the BCP's help some but unfortunately isn't enough to completely eliminate my acne. :-/

  • Reply
So after taking Spiro for nearly 2 weeks, I've decided to stop. I've just been lethargic to the point of feeling sad all day. Also, since I'm taking Tretinoin gel now, it's best to only be on one medication because it's impossible to know which agent is responsible for the changes I'm seeing.
  • Reply
I have never heard or tried this medication and because of the low blood pressure issue I'd get a second opinion. Is it an antibiotic or a gel/cream? If you're not seeing results try Solodyne and Acanya...I've had great results with these two together. I had a friend who had acne and he suffered from nightmares and dreams that made him feel like he was flying. I believe he was taking Accutane. Nevertheless after months on the medication his skin started to get spotty and glassy like and he had to stop taking it. Long story short he still has those nightmares and worse still has the acne. My point is don't be afraid to seek a second opinion if you're not seeing results or feel the medicine is causing problems. It took me 3 different doctors to find the right one. GOOD LUCK!
  • Reply

Seeking a second opinion is ALWAYS good advice in my book, so thank you for encouraging that.

Spironolactone is taken in pill form. I definitely researched it out, even down to asking my OB/GYN about the effects it could have on my hormones (as that is how it helps the acne) before going on it. 

From what I understand Solodyne is a form of the antibiotic minocycline. When I was much younger I tried a few different antibiotics and I always found that they worked great for a bit of time (3-9 months) then the acne would just come back. :-/

I haven't tried Acanya, but I have tried benzoyl peroxide and clindamycin on their own (from what I understand Acanya is a combo of the two) and again, I had good results for a bit then the acne just came back. Argh!!

Do you mind me asking how long you have been on that combo? Hopefully you have had longer term success with those treatments than I did.

 

  • Reply
I tried Spiro...loved that it made me face less oily and as a result my acne improved; however I stopped taking it because it started causing me to have an irregular heartbeat (scary!)
  • Reply

Yeah, it is scary. I'm glad you listened to your body and realized it wasn't right for you! I looked on your profile for reviews to see what you are taking now, but didn't see any. From the comments you've posted it sounds like you have some definite experience to share. I'd love it if you would post reviews so we can hear the full scoop on what you have tried. :)

  • Reply
try lime juice, if it burns ur skin it means ur hav a lot of bacteri in your skin, it works right there an then u put the lime juice on let it dry, apply another layer an leave on for 15 mins.
  • Reply

Huh, I'll have to try it. I would love to find something natural to help! :)

  • Reply