potassium chloride; K-Dur, KLor Con, K-Tab, Kaon CL, Klorvess, Slow-K, Ten-K, Klotrix, K-Lyte CL (cont.)

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PRESCRIBED FOR: Potassium is used for treating or preventing hypokalemia.

SIDE EFFECTS: Common reactions to potassium are primarily gastrointestinal and include:

More important side effects include:

  • high blood potassium levels,
  • 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.

PRESCRIPTION: Yes

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes

PREPARATIONS:

  • Tablet: 20 mEq
  • Tablets (Extended release): 8, 10, 15, and 20 mEq
  • Capsules: 8 and 10 mEq
  • Injection: 1, 1.5, 2, 3, and 4 mEq/ml
  • Plastic container: 10, 20, 30, and 40 mEq

STORAGE: Potassium should be stored at room temperature, 15 C to 30 C (59 F to 86 F).

DOSING:

  • The usual recommendation for treatment of hypokalemia in adults is 20-40 mEq 2 to 4 times daily.
  • The dose for prevention is 20 mEq daily.
  • Oral potassium is usually taken with meals and fluids to prevent intestinal problems.
  • Controlled release tablets should be swallowed whole.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (for example, enalapril [Vasotec]), angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB) drugs (for example, valsartan [Diovan]), and certain diuretics (for example, spironolactone [Aldactone] and triamterene [Dyrenium]) increase potassium levels, causing high potassium levels in the blood when combined with potassium supplements. Potassium blood levels should be measured regularly in these patients.

Salt substitutes (for example, Mrs. Dash) often contain potassium. Therefore, using salt substitutes while taking potassium supplements may lead to high levels of potassium in the blood.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/27/2015


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