Spironolactone is a specific pharmacologic antagonist of aldosterone, acting primarily through competitive binding of receptors at the aldosterone-dependent sodium-potassium exchange site in the distal convoluted renal tubule. Spironolactone causes increased amounts of sodium and water to be excreted, while potassium is retained. Spironolactone acts both as a diuretic and as an antihypertensive drug by this mechanism. It may be given alone or with other diuretic agents which act more proximally in the renal tubule. Aldosterone interacts with a cytoplasmic mineralocorticoid receptor to enhance the expression of the Na+, K+-ATPase and the Na+ channel involved in a Na+ K+ transport in the distal tubule . Spironolactone bind to this mineralcorticoid receptor, blocking the actions of aldosterone on gene expression. Aldosterone is a hormone; its primary function is to retain sodium and excrete potassium in the kidneys.
Spironolactone is a synthetic 17-lactone steroid which is a renal competitive aldosterone antagonist in a class of pharmaceuticals called potassium-sparing diuretics. On its own, spironolactone is only a weak diuretic, but it can be combined with other diuretics. Due to its anti-androgen effect, it can also be used to treat hirsutism, and is a common component in hormone therapy for male-to-female transgendered people. Spironolactone inhibits the effect of aldosterone by competing for intracellular aldosterone receptor in the distal tubule cells. This increases the secretion of water and sodium, while decreasing the excretion of potassium. Spironolactone has a fairly slow onset of action, taking several days to develop and similarly the effect diminishes slowly.
Rapidly and extensively metabolized. The metabolic pathway of spironolactone is complex and can be divided into two main routes: those in which the sulfur moiety is retained and those in which the sulfur moiety is removed by dethioacetylation. Spironolactone is transformed to a reactive metabolite that can inactivate adrenal and testicular cytochrome P450 enzymes. It also has anti-androgenic activity.
The oral LD50 of spironolactone is greater than 1, 000 mg/kg in mice, rats, and rabbits. Acute overdosage of spironolactone may be manifested by drowsiness, mental confusion, maculopapular or erythematous rash, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, or diarrhea. Spironolactone has been shown to be a tumorigen in chronic toxicity studies in rats.
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