Potassium is a mineral that is found in many foods and is needed for several functions of your body, especially the beating of your heart.
- Potassium chloride is used to prevent or to treat low blood levels of potassium (hypokalemia). Potassium levels can be low as a result of a disease or from taking certain medicines, or after a prolonged illness with diarrhea or vomiting.
- This medication is a mineral supplement used to treat or prevent low amounts of potassium in the blood. A normal level of potassium in the blood is important.
- Potassium helps your cells, kidneys, heart, muscles, and nerves work properly. Most people get enough potassium by eating a well-balanced diet.
- Some conditions that can lower your body’s potassium level include severe prolonged diarrhea and vomiting, hormone problems such as hyperaldosteronism, or treatment with “water pills”/diuretics.
- You should not use potassium chloride if you have kidney failure, Addison’s disease, severe burns or other tissue injury, if you are dehydrated, if you take certain diuretics (water pills), or if you have high levels of potassium in your blood (hyperkalemia). Do not crush, chew, break, or suck on an extended-release tablet or capsule. Swallow the pill whole. Breaking or crushing the pill may cause too much of the drug to be released at one time. Sucking on a potassium tablet can irritate your mouth or throat. Take potassium chloride with food or just after a meal.
- To be sure potassium chloride is helping your condition, your blood may need to be tested often. Your heart rate may also be checked using an electrocardiograph or ECG (sometimes called an EKG) to measure electrical activity of the heart. This test will help your doctor determine how long to treat you with potassium. Do not miss any scheduled appointments.
- Serious side effects of potassium include uneven heartbeat, muscle weakness or limp feeling, severe stomach pain, and numbness or tingling in your hands, feet, or mouth.
- Do not stop taking this medicine without first talking to your doctor. If you stop taking potassium suddenly, your condition may become worse.
- Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are regularly taking other drugs/products that can also raise your potassium level. Examples include eplerenone, ACE inhibitorssuch as enalapril/lisinopril, angiotensin receptor blockers such as losartan/valsartan, potassium-sparing “water pills”/diuretics such as spironolactone/triamterene, birth control pills that contain drospirenone, among others.
- Also, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you take medications that can slow down the movement of potassium in your stomach or intestines, possibly increasing the risk of side effects (such as ulcers). Examples include atropine, scopolamine, some antihistamines such as diphenhydramine, antispasmodic drugs such as dicyclomine/hyoscyamine, bladder control drugs such as oxybutynin/tolterodine, certain drugs for Parkinson’s disease such as benztropine/trihexyphenidyl, among others.
BRAND NAME(S): K-Dur, Klor-Con M