Journal Article

Is spironolactone safe for dialysis patients?

Shahid Hussain, Darren E. Dreyfus, Richard J. Marcus, Robert W. W. Biederman and Rita L. McGill

in Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation

Published on behalf of European Renal Association - European Dialysis and Transplant Assoc

Volume 18, issue 11, pages 2364-2368
Published in print November 2003 | ISSN: 0931-0509
Published online November 2003 | e-ISSN: 1460-2385 | DOI:
Is spironolactone safe for dialysis patients?

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Background. Spironolactone is useful in heart failure, but is not given to dialysis patients for fear of hyperkalaemia. This study evaluated the safety of spironolactone administration in haemodialysis patients.

Methods. Fifteen haemodialysis outpatients with mean serum potassium <5.6 mEq/l over the preceding 4 months were treated with spironolactone 25 mg daily for 28 days. Serum potassium was measured before every haemodialysis during the study. Aldosterone and renin were measured at the beginning and end of the study. Patients were monitored for side effects. Data were examined with a paired t-test, with patients serving as their own controls and P < 0.05 considered significant. A sample size of 14 was required to achieve a power of 0.8 and a P = 0.05 to detect a potassium difference of 0.5 ± 0.6 mEq/l. All patients were analysed as intention-to-treat.

Results. The mean potassium level was 4.6 ± 0.6 mEq/l at baseline and 4.9 ± 0.9 mEq/l at study completion (P = 0.14). Thirteen patients completed the trial with no potassium levels >6.0 mEq/l. Four patients had potassium levels between 5.5 and 6.0 mEq/l. One patient was withdrawn at day 20 after developing hyperkalaemia (7.6 mEq/l). Another patient was withdrawn at day 25 after missing a dialysis treatment. There were no differences in either baseline or 28 day aldosterone or renin levels (16.8 ± 28.8 vs 11.7 ± 6.1 ng/dl and 3.5 ± 3.9 vs 3.5 ± 3.5 ng/ml/h, respectively). Infrequent side effects included dry mouth, nosebleed, pruritis, gynecomastia and diarrhoea. No significant leukopenia or anaemia was noted.

Conclusions. Spironolactone may be considered as a treatment option for selected chronic haemodialysis patients with heart disease.

Keywords: haemodialysis; hyperkalaemia; spironolactone

Journal Article.  2621 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Nephrology

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