MRA drugs can improve heart disease symptoms, decrease your chances of dying from the condition, and help you stay out of the hospital. Not everyone with heart disease will be prescribed an MRA drug.

yellow pill tabletsShare on Pinterest
Javier Zayas Photography/Getty Images

If you have heart failure, you may have been told that you need to take aldosterone receptor antagonists (MRA) drugs. They’re in the class of mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist drugs.

They work by removing excess fluids from your body and decreasing the amount of blood your heart has to pump. MRA drugs have been found to be effective at decreasing hospitalizations and mortality from heart failure.

Let’s take a closer look at how MRA drugs for heart failure work, including benefits, side effects, and who should take these medications.

MRA drugs are one of the most commonly prescribed medications for heart failure. Examples of MRA drugs include spironolactone, eplerenone, and finerenone.

Here’s what to know about these medications:

  • Spironolactone: This medication is used to treat various types of heart conditions and other non-cardiac conditions, such as hyperaldosteronism (when the body produces excess aldosterone). Spironolactone is Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved to treat heart failure.
  • Eplerenone: This medication is used to treat reduced ejection fraction, high blood pressure, and heart failure. It’s FDA-approved specifically for people who experience heart failure after a heart attack.
  • Finerenone: This medication helps with kidney failure, kidney function decline, and heart disease. It’s FDA-approved for people who have heart failure along with kidney failure linked to diabetes.

Not all of these drugs are FDA-approved for every instance of heart failure.

Medications like eplerenone and finerenone are only FDA-approved to treat heart failure in certain circumstances and with specific comorbidities. However, sometimes MRA drugs are used “off-label” by physicians.

Your healthcare team can help you understand which MRA drugs might be best for you.

MRA drugs block aldosterone, a hormone that your body naturally makes that can raise your blood pressure. Blocking aldosterone also helps your kidneys release salt and extra water from your body.

The main job of MRA drugs is to decrease the amount of extra fluid in your body and to decrease the amount of blood your heart has to pump. This creates less strain on your heart.

What is heart failure?

Heart failure (or congestive heart failure) is a serious condition affecting about 6 million U.S. adults. When you have heart failure, your heart has trouble pumping blood to meet your body’s needs. Your heart may be too weak to pump with enough vigor. When you have heart failure, your heart still works, but its effectiveness decreases.

You can read more here about heart failure, symptoms you may experience, and treatment options.

Was this helpful?

You may experience a number of benefits from using MRA drugs as part of heart failure therapy. Those may include:

  • reduced heart failure hospitalizations
  • reduced death from heart failure
  • reduced symptoms of heart failure
  • the ability to live a more active life

Both the American Heart Association and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute note that MRA drugs are a common treatment for heart failure.

These medications may be prescribed by a cardiologist and used along with other medications, as well as lifestyle changes, medical procedures, or surgeries used to treat heart failure.

Because MRA drugs remove fluid and salt from the body, they will make you urinate more frequently. They may also cause a condition called hyperkalemia, which is when you have excessive amounts of potassium in your blood. This is a serious condition that needs to be monitored by your physician.

Other general side effects of MRA drugs can include:

Side effects specific to spironolactone include:

  • enlarged breasts
  • erectile dysfunction
  • lowered testosterone
  • menstrual irregularities

What is MRA spironolactone?

Spironolactone is a type of MRA drug used to treat heart failure, as well as health conditions like hypertension, edema caused by liver and kidney disease, and hyperaldosteronism. Spironolactone is FDA-approved to treat heart failure.

What is an MRA antihypertensive agent?

Antihypertensive drugs are used to treat hypertension, which is high blood pressure. MRA drugs may be prescribed for uncontrolled hypertension when other medications have not been successful.

When should you take an MRA for heart failure?

Your cardiologist will tell you whether MRA drugs are right for you. The type of treatment you receive for heart failure depends on the type of heart failure you have, your medical history, other medications you are taking, and your comorbidities.

MRA drugs, also known as aldosterone antagonists, can improve the symptoms of heart disease, decrease your chances of dying from the condition, and can help you stay out of the hospital.

They work by removing excess fluid from your body, so your heart doesn’t have to work as hard to pump your blood. Not everyone with heart disease will be prescribed an MRA drug.

You can discuss MRA drugs with your healthcare team and whether they’re an option for you.