Aldactone (Spironolactone) and/or alternatives
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General Information On Aldactone
Aldactone is used to treat and prevent fluid retention and hypokalemia (low blood potassium levels) in people with cirrhosis and heart failure. In patients who suffer from cirrhosis or heart failure, the kidney eliminates potassium and retains fluid and salt. Aldactone helps the body get rid of excess of fluid by increasing the flow of urine. It also prevents the kidneys from eliminating potassium. Due to these two inherent properties, Aldactone is termed as a potassium-sparing diuretic.
The generic name of the drug is Spironolactone. It is available in Aldactone 25mg, Aldactone 50mg, and Aldactone 100mg strengths. You need a doctor’s prescription to buy Aldactone as it is a prescription drug.
Each oral tablet of Aldactone contains the following ingredients:
- Spironolactone (Active Ingredient)
- Calcium Sulfate (Inactive Ingredient)
- Magnesium Stearate (Inactive Ingredient)
- Corn Starch (Inactive Ingredient)
- Polyethylene Glycol (Inactive Ingredient)
- Titanium Dioxide (Inactive Ingredient)
- Povidone (Inactive Ingredient)
- Hypromellose (Inactive Ingredient)
- Flavor (Inactive Ingredient)
- Iron Oxide (Inactive Ingredient)
Side Effects for Aldactone
Aldactone may cause some unwanted side effects. Less serious side effects of this potassium-sparing diuretic pill are: skin rash, mild nausea, headache, dizziness, and abdominal ache. These side effects are mild and generally appear during the start of treatment. These side effects stop surfacing once your body gets used to the drug.
Serious side effects of Aldactone are: light-headedness, drowsiness, shallow breathing, confusion, tremors, muscle weakness, muscle pain, uneven heartbeat, less than normal or no urination, loss of appetite, low fever, black or tarry stools, dark-colored urine, or yellowing of the eyes or skin. You must contact your doctor as soon as you notice any of these symptoms.
In rare cases, Aldactone may trigger an allergic reaction. As some allergic reactions can be fatal if timely medical help is not sought, you should contact your doctor immediately if you experience shortness of breath, trouble breathing, hives, or swelling of your face after taking Aldactone.
Do not buy Aldactone if you are allergic to any ingredient present in it. You should not take this drug if you have urination problems, hyperkalemia (high blood potassium levels), or a kidney disease. You should not take any other diuretics, potassium supplements, or steroids along with Spironolactone.
Aldactone may cause harm to an unborn child. If you are pregnant, take this drug only if your doctor approves its use. If you become pregnant during treatment, you should tell your doctor about it. This drug may cause harm to a nursing child. If you are breastfeeding an infant, tell your doctor about it before using Aldactone.
During treatment, avoid alcohol as it can aggravate some of the side effects of Spironolactone. Also keep your salt intake in check during treatment, as high salt intake can reduce the efficacy of this drug.
As noted above, Aldactone comes in Aldactone 25mg, Aldactone 50mg and Aldactone 100mg strengths. The strength and dosage prescribed to you will depend on the condition being treated and several other factors. Your doctor will determine the correct dosage for you after studying your condition and medical history. You must ensure that you follow all your doctor’s instructions and take the medication exactly as directed by him/her. For treating high blood pressure the most common dose is Aldactone 50mg once daily.
Various drugs are known to interact with Aldactone. To prevent unwanted drug interactions, inform your doctor about the medicines you are taking in advance. The drugs that may cause complications when taken along with Aldactone are: NSAIDs (such as diflunisal, ibuprofen, nabumetone, piroxicam, meloxicam, ketorolac, and others), ACE inhibitors (such as perindopril, trandolapril, lisinopril, captopril, enalapril, and others), and steroids (such as mometasone, dexamethasone, fluticasone, and others).
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What is a "Generic" medication/drug?
Generic drugs are medications that have comparable medicinal ingredients as the original brand name drug, but which are generally cheaper in price. Nearly 1 in 3 drugs dispensed are "generic". They undergo testing to ensure that they are similar to their "brand" counterparts in:
- Active Ingredient (e.g. "Pravastatin" is the active ingredient in brand name Pravachol)
- Dosage (e.g. 10 mg of the active ingredient)
- Safety (e.g. same or similar side effects, drug interactions)
- Performance (e.g. 10 mg of a "generic" can be substituted for 10 mg of the "brand" and have the same therapeutic result)
- Intended use (e.g. both "generic" and "brand" would be prescribed for the same conditions)
What this means is that "generic" medications can be used as a substitute of their brand equivalents with the comparable therapeutic results. There are a few exceptions (examples are outlined at the end of this page) and as always you should consult your physician before switching from a brand name medications to a generic or vice versa.
What differences are there between generic and brand?
While generics and brand equivalent drugs contain the same active ingredients, they may be different in the following ways:
- Appearance (e.g. the scoring or markings)
The color, shape and size of the medication come from the fillers that are added to the active ingredients to make the drug. These fillers that are added to the drug have no medical use and do not to change the effectiveness of the final product. A generic drug must contain comparable active ingredients and must have a comparable strength and dosage as the original brand name equivalent. Generic drugs can be more cost effective than purchasing the brand name.
Why do generics cost less than the brand name equivalents?
When a new drug is "invented", the company that discovered it has a patent on it that gives them the exclusive production rights for this medication. Once the patent expires in a country, other companies can bring the product to market under their own name. This patent prevents other companies from copying the drug during that time so they can earn back their Research and Development costs through being the exclusive supplier of the product. After the patent expires however, other companies can develop a "generic" version of the product. These versions generally are offered at much lower prices because the companies do not have the same development costs as the original company who developed the medication.
The main thing to realize here though is that the two products are therapeutically equivalent. They may look different, and be called something different.
How are Generic drugs tested to ensure quality and efficacy?
Generally speaking, the two most generally accepted methods to prove the safety of a generic version of a drug are to either repeat most of the chemistry, animal and human studies originally done, or to show that the drug performs comparably with the original brand name drug. This second option is called a "comparative bioavailability" study. During this type of study, volunteers are given the original drug, and then separately later the generic drug. The rates at which the drug is delivered to the patient (into their blood stream or otherwise absorbed) are measured to ensure they are the same. Because the same active ingredient is used the major concern is just that it delivers the common chemical(s) at the same rate so that they have the same effect. Please note that the methods that the manufacturers use may vary from country to country.