Spironolactone and eplerenone are both mineralocorticoid-receptor antagonists. These compounds block both the epithelial and nonepithelial actions of aldosterone, with the latter assuming increasing clinical relevance. Spironolactone and eplerenone both affect reductions in blood pressure either as mono- or add-on therapy; moreover, they each afford survival benefits in diverse circumstances of heart failure and the probability of renal protection in proteinuric chronic kidney disease. However, as use of mineralocorticoid-blocking agents has expanded, the hazards inherent in taking such drugs have become more apparent. Whereas the endocrine side effects of spironolactone are in most cases little more than a cosmetic annoyance, the potassium-sparing effects of both spironolactone and eplerenone can prove disastrous, even fatal, if sufficient degrees of hyperkalemia emerge. For most patients, however, the risk of developing hyperkalemia in and of itself should not discourage the sensible clinician from bringing these compounds into play. Hyperkalemia should always be considered a possibility in patients receiving either of these medications; therefore, anticipatory steps should be taken to minimize the likelihood of its occurrence if long-term therapy of these agents is being considered.
Authors: Domenic A. Sica
Keywords: spironolactone, eplerenone, mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist, hyperkalemia, heart failure, resistant hypertension
DOI Number: 10.14797%2Fmdcj-11-4-235 Publication Year: 2015
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