- What is potassium supplements-oral, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What brand names are available for potassium supplements-oral?
- Is potassium supplements-oral available as a generic drug?
- Do I need a prescription for potassium supplements-oral?
- What are the side effects of potassium supplements-oral?
- What is the dosage for potassium supplements-oral?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with potassium supplements-oral?
- Is potassium supplements-oral safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about potassium supplements-oral?
What is potassium supplements-oral, 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:
What brand names are available for potassium supplements-oral?
K-Dur, KLor Con, K-Tab, Klorvess, K-Lyte CL
What are the side effects of potassium supplements-oral?
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.
Quick GuideVitamin D Deficiency: How Much Vitamin D Is Enough?
What is the dosage for potassium supplements-oral?
- 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.
Which drugs or supplements interact with potassium supplements-oral?
: 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.
Drugs that slow transit of food through the intestine, for example, atropine and loperamide (Imodium), may delay passage of potassium tablets through the digestive system and result in ulceration or narrowing of the small intestine.
Is potassium supplements-oral safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
Potassium supplementation has not been adequately evaluated in pregnant women.
NURSING MOTHERS: If the mother's blood potassium level is normal, use of potassium supplements should not adversely affect the infant.
What else should I know about potassium supplements-oral?
What preparations of potassium supplements-oral are available?
- 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
How should I keep potassium supplements-oral stored?
Potassium should be stored at room temperature, 15 C to 30 C (59 F to 86 F).
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Related Disease Conditions
Low Potassium (Hypokalemia)
Potassium is an essential electrolyte necessary for cell function. Low potassium (hypokalemia) may be caused by diarrhea,...
Common Medical Abbreviations List (Acronyms and Definitions)
Doctors, pharmacists, and other health-care professionals use abbreviations, acronyms, and other terminology for instructions...
Treatment & Diagnosis
Daily Health News
Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
FDA Prescribing Information.
Top potassium supplements-oral Related Articles
Common Medical Abbreviations and Terms
Doctors, pharmacists, and other health-care professionals use abbreviations, acronyms, and other terminology for instructions and information in regard to a patient's health condition, prescription drugs they are to take, or medical procedures that have been ordered. There is no approved this list of common medical abbreviations, acronyms, and terminology used by doctors and other health- care professionals. You can use this list of medical abbreviations and acronyms written by our doctors the next time you can't understand what is on your prescription package, blood test results, or medical procedure orders. Examples include:
- ANED: Alive no evidence of disease. The patient arrived in the ER alive with no evidence of disease.
- ARF: Acute renal (kidney) failure
- cap: Capsule.
- CPAP: Continuous positive airway pressure. A treatment for sleep apnea.
- DJD: Degenerative joint disease. Another term for osteoarthritis.
- DM: Diabetes mellitus. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
- HA: Headache
- IBD: Inflammatory bowel disease. A name for two disorders of the gastrointestinal (BI) tract, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
- JT: Joint
- N/V: Nausea or vomiting.
- p.o.: By mouth. From the Latin terminology per os.
- q.i.d.: Four times daily. As in taking a medicine four times daily.
- RA: Rheumatoid arthritis
- SOB: Shortness of breath.
- T: Temperature. Temperature is recorded as part of the physical examination. It is one of the "vital signs."
ElectrolytesElectrolytes are substances that become ions in solution and acquire the capacity to conduct electricity. The balance of the electrolytes in our bodies is essential for normal function of our cells and our organs. Common electrolytes include sodium, potassium, chloride, and bicarbonate. The functions and normal range values for these electrolytes are important, and if an electrolyte is at an extreme low or high, it can be fatal.
Low Potassium (Hypokalemia)Potassium is an essential electrolyte necessary for cell function. Low potassium (hypokalemia) may be caused by diarrhea, vomiting, ileostomy, colon polyps, laxative use, diuretics, elevated corticosteroid levels, renal artery stenosis, and renal tubular acidosis, or other medications. Symptoms of low potassium include weakness, aches, and cramps of the muscles. Treatment is dependant upon the cause of the low potassium (hypokalemia).
Vitamins QuizTake the Vitamins & Supplements Quiz to learn just how many essential vitamins your body needs to function!