Where to start? In my early 20's (I am now 43) I was diagnosed with PCOS. After fighting with a few doctors for help, at age 28 I finally got bumped over to endocrinologists who prescribed spiro, 200 mg a day. I have been on spiro for 15 years straight. (usually 200 mg, sometimes I'd bump lower it a bit to 150mg). I have had all kinds of side effects over the years, constant thirst, low blood pressure, getting up to pee every 2-3 hours (which never gets better btw), unfortunate breast enlargement (to a 34G from a 32D), large bags and dark circles under my eyes, redness to my skin, I always look like I have a sunburn, and dry eye syndrome, just bizarre type stuff. Some of this might not be spiro, but I think most of it is, after 15 years it's a bit hard to tell. I never stopped taking it beacuse my PCOS symptoms are so severe.
Recently it became apparent that spiro has screwed up my electrolyte balance to the point where I couldn't keep enough sodium in my body, I have been sick for the past year, passing out from low blood pressure. So I decided to stop taking it. I tapered down to 100mg but was still so sick that 6 weeks ago I had to stop entirely.
Now that it is fully out of my system I am shocked at;
A. How much better I feel, so much energy and focus, I didn't realize how tired I had become, and
B. How horrible I look, downright haggard and so aged that it breaks my heart
First I swelled up quite big but now that the swelling has passed all of my skin has sagged terribly. I suddenly (I mean within the past 6 weeks) have developed turkey neck and jowls. My cheeks sag and my eyes droop. It looks as if all the muscle tone has just left my face. I look 20 years older, it's horrific. My skin is yellowed (not my liver, I checked), and somehow looks darker. Doing further research I realize that basically I have been taking a steroid for 15 years and having stopped I suddenly look like an old woman.
I am a typical, yet thin PCOS'er. I have high androgens, my LH to FSH ratio is off, pearled ovaries, as well as insulin resistance, even when thin. I can grow a mean goatee and had some serious acne and male pattern thinning of my hair before starting spiro. I am now trying to treat my PCOS with a paleo autoimmune diet and drinking spearmint tea for the facial hair. It's too soon to tell how well this will work, but running back to the spironolactone is no longer an option as it makes me too ill.
If I had it to do all over again, would I? As bad as it sounds,i t's really hard to say. On one hand, I got 15 good, if not sickly, years out of this drug. I looked great, no side effects that a little makeup wouldn't cover, no acne, and minimal facial hair. Being a thin PCOS'er weight was never too much of an issue.
On the other hand, I am only 43 and my looks are now ruined. I will do my best to try to combat this, I am by no means throwing in the towel, but I look so much older then my age now. The other day someone thought my mother and I were sisters. I almost started crying on the spot. I try to tell myself that if I was going to look good, why not my "younger years"? It's the best positive spin I can put on this but it's really tough to stay upbeat when everytime I look in the mirror at my suddenly aged self, I am shocked all over again.
I'm not sure what my review says except to the user beware. If you need it now for PCOS, you will need it later. It's not a cure, it's a maintenence drug and can wreak a lot of havok over many years of use.
Also, I was sad & amazed by Christine2004's review, her case sounds just like mine, the aging that this drug has done to her. I knew I couldn't be the only one, but I was sorry to hear that someone else has to deal with this.
I will update if I find a way to reverse or reduce this terrible aged look I have suddenly developed. Maybe with time my face and body will recover.
Lord have mercy, this medicine is great! I thought all was lost when I developed acne. It began when I started taking my birth control pills off routine and my hormones became unbalanced. I was desperate to find something to cure the whiteheads and cysts. My dermatologist prescribed multiple antibiotics which did not work. I heard my friend that spironolactone cleared her cystic acne. Next appointment, I asked about this. He prescribed it to me. I was on the lowest dose, then bumped me up to 75 mg (2x in the morning, 1x at night). It took six months to really notice a complete difference, but the difference was intense and extraordinary. This is a medication that take awhile to get in your system to work. What it does is change the androgen receptors which cause unwanted facial hair and acne (even weight gain). It basically balances hormones. Within a week of this medicine, I dropped weight. I'm not fat, I'll be honest, but I'm not the skinniest chick alive. Spironolactone is a diuretic so it eliminates water from the body. The only cautions I suggest are checking your potassium levels regularly, because it messes with potassium levels. This medicine made me tired and faint at first, but the side effects go away. Once again, I recommend this product to anyone suffering from acne. It will change your life.
This was so interesting to see this pop up on my home page reviews, because I've been taking 50 mg per day for over 2 years because my hair was falling out in droves. It was to the point that I had to clean the hair out from my shower drain every time I washed my hair because so much would come out!
I finally went to my doctor & after ruling out any thyroid issues, he put me on spironolactone. He also said I might even grow my hair back if the follicle wasn't damaged.
After 2 weeks, my hair wasn't falling out beyond what is normal, and after a month, I could see some new growth around my hairline. Not all of my hair grew back though. My hair is so much thinner than it was before this all happened. And I can't grow it as long. It seems to "get stuck" at about 2" past my shoulders. I wish I had gone to the doctor sooner.
I tried to go off this after I had been on it for a year, & within a few weeks my hair started falling out more, so I went back on it. I will always be taking this, unless I want to be bald, which I don't. This has not made my body hair grow more, thankfully.
I hope this review helps someone that is in the situation I was in.
I'm almost nervous writing a post to say I've gotten my acne under control with Spiro because I feel like I'll jinx all of my progress! Hopefully not.
I've had acne since age 13 but it was never very serious. Then, out of the blue when I was 22 it turned from mild to severe. I was finally at the stage when I should be growing out of acne and it was worse than ever. I even got a few severe cysts on my cheek that scarred. I was actually depressed, had no self confidence and was truly in a bad place.
Then, I saw an endocrinologist (which I REALLY recommend, especially for women). She was able to diagnose me with PCOS, which explained the severe hormonal acne. I went on Yaz, which was able to stop the horrible acne and it went back to mild.
But I was still frustrated, I would constantly have at least 2 or 3 spots at any given time and I wasn't confident without makeup. I went on Spironolactone 2 months ago and was led to believe by my dermatologist and endocrinologist would finally sort me out.
The most important thing: BE PATIENT. I waited for results for the first 6 weeks and saw no change. Some weeks, things actually seemed to be getting worse. Now, at around week 8, I'm beginning to see a change. Almost no new spots and no severe cysts.
From other reviews, I hope I can expect consistent progress in the coming months and see full effects in the next 6 months. I highly recommend Spiro: it has few side effects and is a mild treatment compared to Accutane, oral and topical antibiotics, and even a lot of topical treatments like Benzoyl Peroxide, which can rapidly age skin.
In general, I encourage people treating active acne to look towards internal treatments for long term success. Topical skincare- washing, moisturizing etc- is important, but it won't change the underlying cause of your acne.
These days, I'm working with a combination of birth control pills, diet (and lots of water!), vitamins, and of course, Spironolactone, to change my body from the inside out and correct the hormonal irregularities that cause my acne.
Try spironolactone, be patient, and good luck!
Where to start? I have been taking Spironolactone for over two years now. I find that some people swear by it while others do not. I am one who does. I stopped taking BC pills (Ortho Tri-Cyclen) because I had gained 60 pounds in 6 years and it no longer had an effect on calming my acne. Within a year I lost all of the weight but I started breaking out so badly with painful cysts and my hair started shedding/thinning. I actually wished they were those little pimples I used to get with Ortho. After 2 months of research I chose Spiro over BCP and Accutane.
I started out at 25mg in Aug 2011. The first 3 months taking it I could feel my skin getting tighter and the acne drying up but it did not go away. (NOTE: realistically this takes a while to clear completely-be patient) I had just finished antibiotics for a wisdom tooth infection and broke out horribly after I finished my round. Antibiotics always make me break out when I quit them so I never take them unless it is serious. By Feb 2012 I had cleared 30% so I bumped my dosage to 50mg/day. I had a breakout that lasted a month but within 2 months my overall face looked a lot better. I still broke out badly on my jawline and a couple strays on my face during my cycle that would hang around forever.
When I increased my dose to 50mg I realized quickly that I needed to drink more water! I had been drinking 3 bottles a day and it was not nearly enough for the new dose. I had muscle cramps, a bloated midsection (retaining water), dry hands, lips and eyes. If you have these symptoms you need to drink more water because you are dehydrated. Once I increased my water consumption to 6 bottles a day all of those issues went away and I ended up losing 10 extra pounds. A couple drops of lemon juice and apple cider vinegar in each bottle doesn't hurt as well. I knew the Spiro was helping but it was not fixing the problem completely. Everybody has different hormone levels. 25mg might work for one person and the other may need 200mg. You have to find the correct dosage for YOU and allow yourself a few months to see results before bumping up. If it doesn't help at all after 3 months you may not have hormonal acne.
By Dec 2012, I was still at 50mg but the stress at my job caused me to go through a horrible breakout that had lasted 6 weeks. My cycle was more frequent but it leveled out after a couple months. All of my PMDD symptoms went away. But my hair seemed to be getting worse with shedding and my face was flaking bad in the winter. I took a hard look at the products I was using to wash my face and hair. I also looked at my diet. Being on Spiro meant I had to back off my potassium rich foods (fruits and veggies). I also had to drink less coffee/soda because it dehydrated me. I started an aggressive organic vitamin therapy regimen everyday to replace those minerals. Vitamin A, B, C, D, E, iron, zinc, hyaluronic acid, saw palmetto, biotin, coconut oil, DHA, Oregano Oil, and red grape extracts. The texture in my skin and hair was amazing after a few months. I also changed to non-sulfate shampoos, conditioners, face wash, vitamin c toner & moisturizer, and noncomedogenic makeups. The side effects only bother me in the winter so I have to deep condition my hair twice a week, drink a little more water and I use hemp oil on my face after exfoliating. Those little changes made a big difference in addition to the Spiro. By April 2013 my face was 75% clear up but I had a couple of cysts that just would not go away.
In May 2013 I started 100mg/day (50mg with breakfast & 50mg with dinner). I had a slight breakout after bumping the dose up but unlike last time this one only lasted 2 weeks before it was gone completely. I also had to increase my water intake from 6 bottles to 8 bottles a day because my hands were dry at first. Since June 2013 I have had no break outs (not even during my cycle) and for the first time in 12 years my face is finally healing up. Without insurance I have to pay $23 monthly which sucks. I have yet to find a cheaper pharmacy.
If you have hormonal acne, I advise you to try Spironolactone over other treatments and use my tips to reduce your side effects. Give it time to work and find out which dose works best for you. If you experience dizziness, cramping, dry skin, or itchy scalp - these are signs that you are dehydrated. Make sure you drink primarily water (limit caffeine after lunch time). Take the Spiro with meals for better absorption in the body and less nausea. Most importantly give it a chance to work it's magic. It takes a while for the body to correct itself, repair itself and finally heal itself.
**** If you are also experiencing hair thinning with your acne and taking spiro for it please note that it can take 2 years to grow your new healthy hair to your shoulders. Don't expect your dry, damaged hair to suddenly perk up like a wilted flower. Keep trimming the damage off and treat it the best you can. (condition, condition, condition, wear it down as much as possible and only wash it 2-4 times a week) It may take 50mg to clear your face but it may take 200mg to grow all of your hair back in that has fallen out. Stay positive and be patient. :)
I'm caught between a rock and a hard place. I have found that Spironolactone has helped my acne dry up and blocked the cystic acne from spreading BUT it has caused severe dryness around my eyes. When I say severe I am talking lizard skin! The dryness is causing mulitple lines under my eyes.
I am 43 years old. I am quite often mistaken to be in my late 20s but no one has told me that since the dry lines have appeared. I have tried all types of eye creams (Lancome, Chanel, Arbonne, etc) and currently using SebaMed anti-dry which is very emollient but my eyes are still dry. I also switched from Lancome face powder to Chanel's cream-to-powder hoping it would keep moisture on my eyes but it creases with the SebaMed. Plus, the Chanel makes me have shiny skin. I currently have Derma e Hyaluronic & Pycnogenol Eye Creme on order because the reviews looked great.
I haven't gained any weight but I do find myself hungrier and it is hard to control my eating. Also, my boobs and thighs have gotten slightly bigger which is not what I want since I like to jog. Running and boobs is not a great combo and who wants fat thighs? Spiro is a diuretic so I thought it would help me lose weight since people take water pills to lose weight. But no such luck here.
I was on 100 mg/day but I cut the dosage to 50 mg to see if it would help but it did not.
I don't know what to do.
I don't know what is better: a litt bit of acne with dry, old-looking eyes OR have acne and look younger.
Does anyone else have this trouble with Spironolactone? If so, what product did you use to help alleviate the dryness?
I am never looking back. I have struggled with acne since puberty. Accutane TWICE, you name it. I finally deduced it to hormones and was prescribed Metformin for symptoms of PCOS. This did not help my acne much although it was more glowy. I had heard Spiro could be used for acne and asked my Derm to prescribe it to me. Costs me nothing with insurance. I use this with Epiduo and my skin has never been better. But for me, I HAVE TO TAKE IT IN CONJUNCTION WITH METFORMIN. I went off Metformin for a while and immediately started getting little breakouts here and there. For me, taking medication every day for the rest of my life is nothing compared to the embarrassment of adult acne. So worth it.
Many of the reviews on spiro are very positive, so I wanted to share my experience. About a year ago I started breaking out with cystic acne after I stopped nursing my 2nd child. It was painful and my doctor recommended spiro since I had tried topicals/antibotics with little success. I didn't want to go on bcp because they previously caused melasma (which I will probably have forever, ugh...). I slowly worked my way up to 100mg over the course of a month and my skin started to clear up within 2 months. But I immediately noticed the side effects starting the first week. And the side effects were awful, I had to go to the bathroom every hour, I was extremely bloated all of the time, I immediately gain 5-6 lbs (all in my stomach and thighs), I went up a dress size, random spotting, and I also noticed that I was developing wrinkles on my forehead. I stuck with it and maintained at 100 mg for about 3 months. I was miserable so I started decreasing down to 25 mg, which I stayed on for 3-4 more months. My skin stayed pretty clear, but the side effects didn't decrease and I continued to gain weight. I finally stopped 2 weeks ago and unfortunately I'm still experiencing most of the side effects, I'm hoping after I'm off for awhile my body will return to normal. I have had a slight breakout since quiting, I expect in the next few months the cysts will probably increase. I'm disappointed that I had all of these side effects, I would have stayed on it if not for them! The worst part was the weight gain/bloating, I've had 2 kids and it wasn't easy to get back down to my pre-baby size, so it's been a really blow to my ego to have to buy larger clothes and deal with stomach bloating, my doctor told the weight gain would level off, but it didn't and I'm not willing to end up with a 10 or 20lb weight gain just to have clear skin!
The story with my skin is a loooong and frustrating one. As of now, spiro has been a a great solution and continues to get better.
Since age 12ish, I've battled with cystic acne. My first course of accutane was successful, and results lasted from age 13-16ish. When my skin started to get bad again, I took a second course of accutane. This time my results lasted a little longer. Then I started to get some breakouts around sophomore year of college and started taking Yaz, which probably helped my skin a lot. Until a few months ago, I had been off of BC for about 3 years.
Last January, I went down to Costa Rica to volunteer and teach English. I started breaking out a little around my mouth and wrote it off as change in environment, pollution, etc. Come March, my cheeks, upper neck and jawline - areas in which I had never had problems in the past - were littered with painful, stubborn cysts.
Because of their location and cystic nature, it was pretty clear that my acne was somehow hormone related. Nothing topical would work, and the cysts on my jawline would never come to a head, they would just lay deep under my skin and harden. In April, I saw a doctor in CR who gave me an internal ultrasound and found some cysts on my ovaries. She recommended a hormone test and prescribed me Qlaira, a new BC not yet approved in the states. She told me the BC would work for both my acne and ovarian cysts.
Fast forward to August, and went to my derm and gyno back in the states. My ovarian cysts were gone, so we knew it wasn't pcos. After seeing no improvement in my skin on the BC, my derm prescribed Spiro 75 mg a day and doxycycline 100 mg/day, as well as mononessa. I am just now - almost 2 months later - seeing improvement for the first time since March. Right now, I only have maybe 3-4 active pimples on my face as opposed to the usual 10 or 15. Instead of waking up to 2 or 3 new cysts, I'm waking up to maybe one, or none!! The spiro is what does the trick, my derm only prescribed the doxy to calm the inflammation and redness. After 6 weeks, we upped my spiro to 100 mg/day and the results are even better.
Its important to understand that if your cystic acne isn't related to testosterone or androgen over production in your body, then spiro won't be effective for you. If this is what's going on in your body, it's also important to understand that your skin is NOT the problem! I actually have really soft, smooth, non greasy or dry skin beyond the cysts and scars. My derm also assured me that the "scars" I'm seeing are just post-acne healing marks, and will slowly fade. In the mean time, I also use .25% retin-A about every other night as an additional acne defense and to help speed the disappearing of marks.
So, love spiro and the fact that I didn't have to go through accutane again. Hopefully I'm over with the little breakouts and my marks will start to fade. If you think hormones are your issue, DEFINITELY try spiro!! I know it sucks, but you do have to give it about 6-8 weeks to see the results you're looking for. But it's totally worth is cause they'll come!
My stats: 30 years old, mild-to-moderate acne since 13. My doctor thought I was the perfect candidate for spironolactone, since my adult acne had clear hormonal links, and everything else I'd tried -- antibiotics, topicals, diet, etc. -- had ultimately failed.
I started taking 100 mg/day, and within the first week I could detect a noticeable difference. My skin was considerably less oily, my light chest acne was gone, and my facial acne was slowly diminishing. I had a facial about 20 days after I began the course, and my aesthetician -- who's used to dealing with my sad cystic face -- was amazed by my progress. Unfortunately, however, I seem to have had a mild allergy to spiro. After taking my first dose, I woke up with symptoms that felt comparable to seasonal allergies: slightly sore throat, light congestion, a couple of swollen lymph nodes. I kept taking the meds, hoping that these symptoms would eventually go away . . . but three weeks into my prescription, I awoke one morning covered in hives. Yikes. Obviously stopped taking the spiro immediately after that. (Moving on to accutane now, in a last-ditch act of desperation.)
Also worth noting: some women report menstrual irregularities on this drug. I had one period on the drug, which was completely normal, but I stopped taking it mid-cycle and now I'm about two weeks late. My body seems to be taking its time putting its hormones back in their normal order.