Hyponatremia from MRAs is a rare phenomenon but we have encountered it clinically. There are times, when we check labs after starting spironolactone for HTN, 3-4 weeks later, the Potassium is slightly up and the Na comes back 130 or 131 mmol/L. What is the data and the mechanism for hyponatremia following spironolactone use? Is this even related.
In an abstract presented at AHA few years ago, small amount of patients were noted in an EHR to have hyponatremia following starting of spironolactone but most were following on after being started on a thiazide.
In another paper, high doses of furosemide and spironolactone, or concomitant use of these diuretics, seem to be an important cause of hyponatremia in HF patients, particularly in combination with advanced age, diabetes, and alcohol consumption. Diuretic dose reduction may help avoid hyponatremia and improve clinical status and prognosis in such patients.
Is it possible that a combination of a thiazide and a K+-sparing diuretic such as amiloride and spironolactone can increase the risk of hyponatremia because of the enhanced urinary loss of sodium in the cortical distal tubule? Perhaps not the main mechanism.
What about the concept of vasopressin escape? During hyponatremia, the body limits the degree to which serum sodium concentration falls through a mechanism called "vasopressin escape". Vasopressin escape is a process that prevents the continuous decrease in serum sodium concentration even under conditions of sustained high plasma vasopressin levels. In a recent basic science study, the abilities of aldosterone synthase (Cyp11b2) knockout and wild-type mice to escape from vasopressin were compared. Wild-type mice escaped while the aldosterone synthase knockout mice did not. Both the water channel aquaporin 2 (AQP2) and the urea transporter UT-A1 protein abundances were higher in aldosterone synthase knockout than in wild-type mice at the end of the escape period. Vasopressin escape was also blunted in rats given spironolactone, a mineralocorticoid receptor blocker. The authors results indicate that aldosterone regulates vasopressin escape through calcineurin-mediated protein changes in UT-A1 and AQP2.
So is it possible that we are blunting the natural vasopressin escape when we combine thiazides with MRAs? Do all MRAs do this?- this is still unclear. Hyponatremia related to MRAs is an understudied area worth exploring.