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Spironolactone for Unwanted Hair

Spironolactone is labeled as an antihypertensive (high blood pressure) prescription drug that may be prescribed off-label as a treatment for females with unwanted hair.

Spironolactone for Unwanted Hair

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The Skinny


Average Recovery

0 days

Permanence

Temporary

Application

Pill

Surgical

No

Cost

$6 - $25

The Specifics


What is spironolactone?

Spironolactone (brand name: Aldactone) is a prescription medication used primarily for high blood pressure, but it is also used off-label (i.e. not approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration) to treat unwanted hair growth in females. The potassium sparing water pill (diuretic) is also prescribed off-label by dermatologists to reduce the appearance of acne vulgaris in women due to its anti-androgen properties.

These anti-androgen (male sex hormone) actions make spironolactone unsafe for men due to its disruption of testosterone synthesis, and risk of adverse side effects such as gynecomastia. Spironolactone therapy is discontinued if a woman is planning to conceive, and should not be taken in conjunction with potassium supplements due to increased risk of adverse effects.

What cosmetic concerns does spironolactone treat?

  1. Unwanted Hair: Spironolactone binds to androgen receptors in the body, reducing the production of androgens that are shown to correlate to hair growth development.

Who is the ideal candidate for spironolactone for unwanted hair?

The ideal candidate for Spironolactone is a post-adolescent female with unwanted facial or body hair growth. Spironolactone is not recommended for males due to its anti-androgen properties, pregnant women, women who are breastfeeding, or trying to conceive, or those with certain heart disease, kidney disease, or liver disease.

What is the average recovery associated with spironolactone for unwanted hair?

There is no recovery associated with spironolactone use. Patients will need to inform their primary care provider of this therapy to avoid possible drug interactions with other prescription drugs, and to monitor blood tests for serum potassium levels.

What are the potential side effects of spironolactone for unwanted hair?

Possible side effects of spironolactone therapy include menstrual irregularities, breast tenderness, hypokalemia, hyperkalemia (high potassium levels), nephrotic syndrome, Addison's disease, fatigue, muscle weakness, dizziness, lethargy, headache, gynecomastia, frequent urination (due to water pill diuresis) and lightheadedness. Spironolactone should be used with caution when taking non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, naproxen, or indomethacin.

What can someone expect from the results of spironolactone for unwanted hair?

Spironolactone results develop within four to eight weeks of daily use. Spironolactone therapy may be continued indefinitely depending on the individual’s response and regular consultations with their provider. Women who are planning to become pregnant should stop therapy. Some candidates do not respond to therapy at all. Most notice a lessening of hair growth or complete resolution of unwanted hair growth.

What is the average cost of spironolactone for unwanted hair?


The average cost of spironolactone is $5 to $25, but may be dependent on insurance. The actual cost of the Spironolactone will vary by location, healthcare provider, and individual candidate needs.

Pros

high blood pressure treatmentexcess hair growth treatmentfemale pattern hair loss treatmentacne treatment

Cons

menstrual irregularitiestirednessbreast tenderness

Invasiveness Score

mildmoderatesevere
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10

Invasiveness is graded based on factors such as anesthesia practices, incisions, and recovery notes common to this procedure.

What to Expect


Spironolactone is a pill that may slow or reduce hair growth in areas with unwanted hair. It will not get rid of the hair on the scalp and may actually stimulate growth there. Here is a quick guide for what to expect before, during, and after treatment with Spironolactone.

The Takeaway


Spironolactone is a potassium sparing diuretic with anti-androgen actions used in the treatment of unwanted hair growth and acne vulgaris in females. Spironolactone (brand name aldactone) is an FDA approved antihypertensive used in the treatment of high blood pressure and congestive heart failure due to its effects on aldosterone in the body, however, it is commonly used off-label for reduced hair growth and occurrences of acne in females only. Candidates should speak with their primary care providers about common side effects including abnormal potassium levels or drug interactions.

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Source List

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  1. American Academy of Dermatology Association Hair Loss: Tips for Managing aad.org
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