Aldosterone Blockers (Mineralocorticoid Receptor Antagonism) and Potassium-Sparing Diuretics


Murray Epstein, MD, Department of Medicine/Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, School of Medicine, University of Miami, 1201 Northwest 16th Street, Miami, FL 33125


J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2011;13:644–648. ©2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Key Points and Practical Recommendations

  •  Mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) antagonists (aldosterone blockers) provide effective antihypertensive treatment, especially in low-renin and salt-sensitive forms of hypertension, including resistant hypertension.
  •  Newer, more selective MR antagonists (eg, eplerenone) have fewer of the progestational and antiandrogenic effects than spironolactone, enhancing tolerability and potentially improving adherence to therapy.
  •  MR antagonists provide an additional benefit in the treatment of heart failure when combined with angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, digoxin, and loop diuretics.
  •  Other potassium-sparing diuretics (amiloride or triamterene) are generally prescribed for essential hypertension as a fixed-dose combination with hydrochlorothiazide.
  •  The dose range for spironolactone with resistant hypertension is between 25 mg/d and 50 mg/d, and eplerenone is an appropriate alternative if spironolactone is not tolerated because of sexual side effects.
  •  In general, the combined use of spironolactone and adequate doses of a thiazide diuretic or a thiazide-like agent such as chlorthalidone for the treatment of resistant hypertension maximizes efficacy and reduces the risk of spironolactone-induced hyperkalemia.