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Research Article

Spironolactone in essential hypertension: evidence against its effect through mineralocorticoid antagonism.

Br Med J 1976; 1 doi: (Published 20 March 1976) Cite this as: Br Med J 1976;1:682
  1. B I Hoffbrand,
  2. C J Edmonds,
  3. T Smith


    The effect of a six-week course of spironolactone 300 mg/day was examined in 25 unselected patients with essential hypertension. In the blood spironolactone produced a significant rise in urea and potassium concentrations and a fall in sodium and bicarbonate concentrations. In six patients blood pressure was normal at the end of the course, while in five patients there was almost no change. Studies of the effects of spironolactone on various indices usually affected by mineralocorticoids-namely, blood electrolytes, total body potassium, and rectal electrical properties-showed no differences between responding and non-responding patients. Mineralocorticoid excess therefore seems to be rarely responsible for essential hypertension and the influence of spironolactone cannot at present be fully explained.