potassium chloride, K-Dur, K-Lor, K-Tab, Kaon CL, Klorvess, Slow-K, Ten-K, Klotrix, K-Lyte CL

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

What is potassium chloride, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Potassium preparations are used for supplementing potassium in order to treat or prevent low potassium levels in the blood (hypokalemia). Potassium is a major mineral (electrolyte) that is important for the function of every cell in the body. For example, it is important in nerve conduction, muscle contraction, and kidney function. Normal daily dietary intake of potassium is 40-150 mEq. Potassium deficiency occurs when potassium loss exceeds intake. Potassium depletion may be caused by excessive vomiting or diarrhea, diabetic ketoacidosis, diuretics (for example, furosemide [Lasix]), starvation, and rare disorders of the adrenal glands. Potassium deficiency causes weakness, fatigue, heart rhythm problems, paralysis, and kidney dysfunction.

What brand names are available for potassium chloride?

K-Dur, KLor Con, K-Tab, (Kaon CL, Klorvess, Slow-K, Ten-K, Klotrix, K-Lyte CL are discontinued brands)

Is potassium chloride available as a generic drug?

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes

Do I need a prescription for potassium chloride?

Yes

What are the side effects of potassium chloride?

Common reactions to potassium are primarily gastrointestinal and include reactions such as: 

More important side effects include high blood potassium levels (hyperkalemia), abnormal heart beats, bleeding or perforation of the stomach or small intestine from ulcers, and narrowing (stricture) of the small intestine from healed ulcers. Irritation and damage to the stomach can be reduced by taking potassium supplements with meals or reducing the dose.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/10/2017

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