Usage - 6+ months
So I had a hate - hate - LOVE relationship with this med. Like so many people who have commented below me, I did not have acne as a teenager (just your regular pimple here and there during my cycle) Halfway through my 25th year, mother nature decided to get revenge on me for escaping my teens clear skinned. I began getting large cysts along my jaw line around my cycle. These would take weeks to go away. From there it only got worse, every pore in my face began to clog and eventually become cysts. I did everything possible to fix this new problem, and went to a derm for much needed help. After several topicals and anti-biotics failed me she prescribed me spironolactone.
Here is where my "hate" with this med comes in. She started me out on a pretty high dose of 100mg. Since this is a blood pressure medication designed to lower bp.. it did just that! Every time I stood up I would get so dizzy that I actually would fall to the ground. I was extremely tired, and I dropped about 4Lbs in just a few days (which may seem nice, but I am already quite thin and the starving model look is not for me) I went to my general practitioner who took my bp and informed me that it was extremely low. I didnt want to stop taking the med because it was my last resort before accutane. So I lowered the dose myself. Started at 25mg, then increased back up to 100mg where I am at now with no prob.
My hate continues just a few weeks later after I had solved problem 1. As a lot of people below me mentioned, there is the possibility of a major purge period. Some people seem to have one some don't. I did...... big time at about a month and half in. I was horrified at my face when I looked in the mirror. I did not recognize who I was. I cried almost every single night. My entire right cheek was covered in painful terrible cysts. I thought about stopping, but I read literally hundreds of reviews and many people said you need to wait it out for a few months before it works.
My love began about 4 months in. The 3rd month did not give me any new pimples, but I was still battling the ones from month 2. At month 4 all the pimples had gone (with some help from my derm and corizone shots) I had no new pimples coming in and my pores were beginning to clear. I also had an "acne surgery" done at the derm where they use a scalpel to cut open your closed comedones to remove the ick from your pores, which helped tremendously.
Today I am at about month 6 and I went in to my hair salon for a cut. My hair stylist had not seen me since month 3 when my face was monstrous, and she said "OMG your skin is glowing you look amazing! What are you using?!" It was such an amazing feeling to have that compliment after 2 years of struggling and battling my own skin.
It is so so so hard to stick with this when you have a purge period, or experience some of the other issues others have mentioned like hair loss, weight loss, dizzies etc. But if you can just stick it out until month 4 at least because it will change the way you look, but more importantly how you feel about yourself. GOOD LUCK!
My Pros & Cons with this:
Will clear your acne
Super cheap if you have insurance (mine is $15 a month)
Dizziness if not adjusted to the meds
Weight loss (see pro)
Must be super careful with birth control method because MAJOR BIRTH DEFECTS CAN HAPPEN!
I've had acne since I was 12 years old. Just like most of you, I probably tried everything. One day I finally had enough, and after doing some research online I decided to ask my dermatologist to prescribe me Spironolactone. She prescribed me 75mg, and after 2 months I had only seen very little difference. Even though I read so many times that it could take 6+ months to work, I got impatient and upped my dosage to 100mg myself. I saw results within 3 weeks, I was clearing up!
This is where everything went south. My breasts became unbelievably sore, I started getting my period every 2 weeks, but worst of all my hair began to fall out. As any girl will tell you, hair shedding is absolutely terrifying. I became so depressed at the thought of going bald, or getting bald spots, that I was crying all day long. I missed nearly a week of work because I couldn't get myself out of bed. I went to my dermatologist who told me 25mg is not a big difference, that any hormone fluctuation could trigger hair loss (telogen effluvium), and that it will sort itself out in a few months. She ordered blood work just to check my potassium levels, and told me to keep taking 100mg since it's working.
Well, I wasn't going to take any risks so I went and saw my regular doctor as well. I explained what was going on, what medication I'm taking, how much of it, and what's happening to my hair, and she said that sounds right. A hormone fluctuation could easily cause hair loss, and my body will get used to it. Just wait it out. I convinced her to order some full blood work, just in case something else was wrong.
My blood tests came back, and everything was normal. I requested a copy of the blood work and noticed my ferritin levels were on the low side at a 14ng, but the normal range is 12-135ng/mL. After some research, I learned that ferritin is your iron stores, and is responsible for hair growth. I discovered that your ferritin needs to be something like 30ng for your hair to NOT fall out, and 70+ for it to grow. I called my doctor right away hoping for some help to get it higher, but was told they can't do anything since I'm technically in a normal range.
I spiraled into more of a depression because I finally found what was causing my hair loss, but no doctors would help me. I researched more and more and figured out a safe amount of iron to take to raise that. I began eating lots of red meat and took my iron pill daily. I also went back to 75mg and the breast tenderness was gone within a day, and my periods were back to normal. After a couple weeks, my hair was already falling out much less! After a month now, my hair is back to normal and my face is COMPLETELY CLEAR!
I am posting this because in the endless research I did on the internet, many people taking spiro experienced hair loss, but they stopped taking spiro to fix it. I want this to be out there to help someone and to avoid the heartache and depression I had to go through. If you are shedding while taking Spiro, please get your ferritin and iron levels looked at, make sure your ferritin is above 30 (take iron if not), and find the correct dosage of Spiro for your body.
I have to say as a teenager I would rarely have a breakout. I often was complimented for my "beautiful" skin. That all changed when I hit 18 and had my first child:( from then on and through my next pregnancy it was a constant battle with breakouts. Just when I managed to get it under control it would would start all over again at the worst times. I can honestly say that I tried everything from vegan diets, expensive peels, makeup, the best skin care possible, antibiotics, Chinese medicine, sunshine, ect. Finally, I learned about spiro from a book I read for women with hormone issues. I took the recommendations and started taking spironolactone at 100mg 2x day and using benzaclyn gel. I could not believe the results in just one month my skin stopped breaking out. For me the side effects were worth the solution. Finally, I didn't have to worry about everything I ate, whether I would have a dreaded breakout before an important event and be left with acne marks followed by flakey skin after treating it. The vicious cycle was over. It has stayed over for 4 years now. I am taking a third less now and am going to keep reducing it and see if I can eventually stop all together. I don't like having to take it long term say for the rest of my life if I don't have to. Lets hope it broke the cycle:)
Dermatologist started me on this because I get deep cystic acne on my right jawline. I had super clear skin until I turned 13-14 and when these began. I even took Accutane twice in my twenties but the cysts came back after a year or so. If I use topicals they just continue to pop out without ending. Because of this I've always believed these were hormonally induced and sure wish I would have tried Spiro years ago. I have been on 50 mg for one week and already my pores in my t-zone look like they have literally shrunk, amazing! I am getting some big bumps at this point, feel like things are beginning to come out. Doctor said it would take a few months to see results. As far as side effects go I am urinating a bit more and get dehydrated if I don't drink enough throughout the day, my breasts are tender and maybe a bit bigger (I certainly DON'T need bigger but DH is quite happy!) and I just started spotting. It's just about time for my period to start so I'll have to monitor the spotting to see if it correlates with my cycle. I have had some headaches and some tiredness, not sure if they're related. I certainly don't take this medicine lightly and will have to see some amazing results to stick with taking it. Messing around with hormones is serious business. I will continue to report back with my progress.
12/14/12 -- Two weeks in on 50 mg and the big, hard cysts under my skin have virtually disappeared. I still have a slight to moderate oily t-zone. I currently have a few small, superficial pimples but they seem to be clearing quickly. I am still experiencing breakthrough bleeding (almost as heavy as a period, every day) and I need to wear a pantyliner. Breasts remain tender and larger. I have quite painful heartburn and take Tums 1-4x day -- I have been reading that many other people also experience this side effect. On a positive note the urge to urinate and dehydrated feeling have subsided quite a bit along with the fatigue and headaches.
I feel a little odd reviewing an oral rx as a beauty product, but that's why I take sprironolactone. I've taken 100mg a day since 2008, and I can't imagine going off any time soon. I suffered for years with hormonal acne - the telltale jawline cysts, flare-ups with every period, etc. For a long time, I used birth control to keep things under control, but due to endometriosis, I was on and off the pill (all different types) for years. Finally, in April 2012, I discontinued the pill all together, and was worried that spironolactone wouldn't be enough to keep me clear. After a month or so of adjustment, everything is fine. I was SO relieved, and very happy with my overall complexion. I still get a little oily, but it's nothing out of the ordinary, and I have a good product routine (and blotters) to combat that issue. Anyway, I know this works for me, because I've had some horrible times with acne in my life - cystic and otherwise. All the topicals in the world wouldn't touch it... It's not the worst thing that can happen to someone, but it is embarassing and incredibly frustrating. I spent more money on things like proactiv and harsher products before learning so much more about my options at MUA and finding a good derm. This isn't for everyone, but it's the best thing I've found on this site. I feel comfortable taking this medicine, as it is very old and well tested RX (introduced in 1959 for hypertension). It is anti-androgenic, which is apparently something I need. After a month or two of having to go to the bathroom slightly more often and maybe a *bit* of weight loss (darn), I've had no unpleasant side effects.
I am 28 yrs old, had Acne for 10 years allong my jawline and on sides of mouth that had become pretty persistent this year again. Prior I had been on 2 rounds of accutane which each kept me clear for about 2 years each. I didn't want to go on 3rd round, my derm suggested spironolactone said acne might be hormonal, I took exam to test level of testosterone my levels came back normal, except my androgen levels were a bit elevated so DR. said this medication would be very beneficial in clearing me up. I got my prescription only $7, but after 2 days on medication I decided to stop, my arms and legs kept falling asleep, (that is not side effect listed but I was not going to risk it). Luckily I ran into a friend that weekend who now has clear skin and asked what she was doing. I started seeing my friend's Acne specialist (not Dermatologist) One month later my skin is clear: She said NO PEANUTS which contain hormone progesterone, and NO MILK, and only SEA SALT if use salt. THROW AWAY ANY BEAUTY PRODUCT WITH FRAGRANCE, and only use unscented dye free detergent. After one month my skin is totally clear I can't believe i spent so much money going to dermatologist for 10 years and on acne products that dont work. FYI also anything with a dye will break you out and acne product and toners always tend to have blue and green dye.... that's just wrong.Try this before you go on Spironolactone, give it one month.
I've been taking spiro for about a year (I take Seasonique as my BCP). I started off at only 25mg per day, and didn't see much improvement. But my skincare routine was changing so often (former product junkie here) that it was impossible to tell whether it was doing anything itself. I eventually moved up to 50mg without any real results, but I kept taking it anyway, hoping it was helping somehow. One day I was talking to my friend, who is a physician's assistant, about how I really wanted to go on Accutane to deal with my endlessly oily skin and crazy clogged pores, which were stretching out and ruining my skin texture. She told me that if I was on spiro already, I should up the dosage because doing so helps regulate oil production. I had been sort of afraid of upping the dosage, but she told me that people take up to 200mg a day successfully. I've gradually upped my doage, and finally started seeing some results! I now take 200mg a day (the most you should EVER take a day) but I can tell you that I've taken 25mg, 50mg, 100mg, and 150mg along the way -- and 200mg of spiro is the absolute best dosage for me. It has 100% cleared my face, and made it so that not even a sheen of oil breaks through the whole day. I spend the whole day at work drinking tea so I haven't noticed any increased trips to the bathroom or anything. I haven't lost any hair or gotten bigger boobs or anything, but for me, running my fingers over my skin and not feeling a single bump is UNHEARD OF. Not blotting my face with toilet paper every time I go to the bathroom is unheard of. I'm really happy. I'm glad my friend recommended the higher dosage to me, because it's eliminated my desire to take the risk of using Accutane. But even though it's less risky than Accutane, it still is a serious drug, so please talk to your doctor about whether it's right for you -- not many doctors prescribe this for acne, but find someone who does so they can monitor your progress.
I was prescribed this for fluid retention (100mg.a day), but an added bonus of this is that it has completely cleared up my hormone-related acne that I had on my jawline, chest and back. I mean, I have had probably two pimples since I started it. Also, my facial skin looks poreless!! The only reason I didn't give it five lippies is because it can be a little dehydrating so be sure to drink plenty of water!!
I have not yet done a review on a Rx. I went through some time where my skin started to act up and I needed to try a new OCP. I went on Yaz, and have been on that for about a year. I started to read about Spiro, and how that can also really help hormonal acne. I went to my MD, discussed my options with her (she had also discussed Accutane), and we decided to try me on Spiro first. After maybe 6 weeks, I started to notice a difference. My hormonal breakouts on my jawline are now gone, and I get a blemish here and there, but they are just from clogged pores. I would recommend this to someone who is having trouble with hormonal breakouts that does not have any kidney issues, who is looking for something that can compliment an OCP regimen.
I feel really bad to write my review after seeing previous comments. But I have had enough of my acne for 20 years and decided to try it!!! I searched internet and MUA and heard of this drug. The moment I read about it - I never fell in love until that moment. I did immediately. It described me and every aspect of my body - facial and body hair (I am pale so it's a peach fuzz but I have a moustache, sideburns too, thick hair on my legs and arms), greasy (not oily, beyond) skin and hair, It was seeping through every pore (Revlon Colorstay would last 5-7 hr only!!! ), my skin texture was like a man - lots of pores everywhere on my face, chest, back, body odour (I tried all antiperspirants, I sweat- I smell like a hourse), irregular periods and ACNE. ALL MY LIFE!!!!
My acne was located on my beard zone - side of my face, but mostly chin and jaw line, it would inflame before my period and some cysts would stay under my skin for YEARS. I tried so much staff on my face from ASA and BP to Retin A and lasers and peelings from a derm, it would resist all of it even antibiotics. Cysts were there always, diet, exercise, vitamins, nothing helped. I had a full blood test (6 viles of blood) and my doc just said that he never saw a better blood test than mine.I was prescribed 100 mg of Aldactone (just another name for Spiro) by my derm as the last step before Accutane.So I started it on Dec 25, 2011.
First 3 weeks - skin cleared up some, not too much but I will take any improvement. Note: nearly passed out in a store from dehydration, always carry a water bottle, frequent urination, hair less greesy, skin a bit less oily.
January 3, 2012 - Mega break out. EVERY SINGLE PORE ON MY FACE!!! I look worse than Freddy Krugger. Even on the nose and eyelids. Thank God it is not cystic just red embarrasing acne and whiteheads. I was lucky I had Dermablend FD helped to look human again. Frequent urination, lost weight, have to drink all the time, my back acne is clearing, upper arm too. But my face, I never broke out on my forehead - it is oily but crystal clear, now every pore is red, open and inflamed. Skin is dryish. Tried increasing the dose - skin started to peel off, went back to 100mg. Is it worth it ???
February 2012 - Getting better, Slowly, My forehead is clearing up first. Don't pick, don't pick.... Chin and jaw better but still pimples are there. Skin dry, tight, weathered, slightly oily T-zone. No more mattifying FD for me. I need smth moisturizing. Went to see the derm, she isn't happy with the result, prescribed clyndamicin, It did nothing. As usual. Waiting....
March, 2012 - Went to see derm, got prescription for Tactuo (Epiduo in US). Wow, worked likes magic for the remaining acne, less irritation than Retin A more clearing up, skin surface is evening out. Lost lots of weight (From size 25-26 jeans into size 24), I have to bring my water bottle with me everywhere. Shaved my arms and legs, it took forever for the hair to grow back!!! No body smell when I sweat, I know why some people need deodorants not antiperspirants anymore. Most important - my acne is backing off, my pores are closing. I put on a FD and it doesn't "fall" into my pores. I can (and need to) use a dewey FD as I am combo and dryish on the sides. My skin looks glowy. I can wear a light-medium coverage FD now (love Lancome Teint Miracle, L'Oreal Absolute with the brush on top). OMG!!! I look like a girl when I look in the mirror, not a polka dot face with pores and grease, I put on a light FD and I am done. My deep scars are there but pores are less, oiliness is down and if I fuss with make up I can cover up those too.
Mental note: I am not sure if I could go through this again, but I did put yes as to purchase again.
I will stay on this drug for as long as I can as my WHOLE BODY benefited from it.
- cured deep chin, jaw acne, cysts
- less facial hair, threading once every 2 months or less, less shaving and waxing on the body
- less skin oiliness, pores either closed up or significantly redused
- no body smell when sweat, I feel like a lady ;)
- lost weight
- huge, gigantic, embarasing break out all over face. Just have to wait 6-8 weeks for the body to get used to new level of hormones.
- thirst, urination, dryish skin on the face, a bit tired the first month
- sometimes feel hyper, troubles settling down, esspecially if I don't drink liquids
- remember to take the dose at the same time every day.
- lost too much weight (I was normal already, now look too skinny even for my liking)
- loss of appetite (have to make myself eat, esspecially in the morning, used to be the opposite).
I don't know if I would recommend this drug. It is quite peculiar and you need to determine your cause of acne first:
- if hormones (take a blood test first, try spiro, I'd say, but read available info and acne.org 88 pages of people experience to know what you are getting yourself into),
- if staph infection or prone to it, food intolerance/ allergy, wrong skincare - stay away from the drug it is not for you.
Good luck and feel free to message me if you need more info on my experience.