Generic Name: sodium polystyrene sulfonate (SOE dee um pol ee STEER een SUL foe nate)
Brand Name: Kalexate, Kayexalate, Kionex
What is Kayexalate (sodium polystyrene sulfonate)?
Sodium polystyrene sulfonate affects the exchange of sodium and potassium in the body.
Sodium polystyrene sulfonate is used to treat high levels of potassium in the blood, also called hyperkalemia.
Sodium polystyrene sulfonate may also be used for purposes not listed here.
What is the most important information I should know about Kayexalate (sodium polystyrene sulfonate)?
You should not use this medicine if you have low potassium levels or a bowel obstruction.
Do not give sodium polystyrene sulfonate orally (by mouth) to a newborn baby.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving Kayexalate (sodium polystyrene sulfonate)?
You should not use sodium polystyrene sulfonate if you are allergic to it, or if you have:
low potassium levels (hypokalemia); or
a bowel obstruction.
Do not give this medicine orally (by mouth) to a newborn baby. Do not give either oral or rectal sodium polystyrene sulfonate to a baby who has slow digestion caused by surgery or by using other medicines.
To make sure sodium polystyrene sulfonate is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
heart disease or high blood pressure;
congestive heart failure;
a weak immune system caused using certain medicine;
severe constipation or other bowel problems;
kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis);
an electrolyte imbalance (such as low levels of potassium, calcium, or magnesium in your blood);
a history of severe burns;
a history of bowel disorder, or if you have ever had surgery on your intestines;
if you are dehydrated; or
if you are on a low-salt diet.
It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
It is not known whether sodium polystyrene sulfonate passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
How is Kayexalate (sodium polystyrene sulfonate)given?
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Sodium polystyrene sulfonate can be given as a liquid by mouth, through a stomach feeding tube, or as a rectal enema.
To give this medicine orally: Mix the sodium polystyrene sulfonate powder with water, or with honey or jam to make it taste better. Avoid inhaling the oral powder while you are preparing a dose.
Do not mix the powder with any juice or other liquid that contains potassium, such as orange juice.
The rectal enema form of this medicine is usually given by a healthcare professional. The enema will be inserted slowly while you are lying down. You may need to hold in the enema for up to several hours. The sodium polystyrene sulfonate enema is usually followed with a second cleansing enema.
You will need frequent medical tests to help your doctor determine how long to treat you with sodium polystyrene sulfonate.
Keep using this medicine even if you feel fine. Hyperkalemia often has no symptoms that you will notice until your potassium levels are very low.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Use the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
Overdose symptoms may include confusion, irritability, trouble thinking or concentrating, or muscle weakness.
What should I avoid while receiving Kayexalate (sodium polystyrene sulfonate)?
Avoid taking other medicines by mouth within 6 hours before or 6 hours after you take sodium polystyrene sulfonate.
Avoid eating or drinking anything that contains sorbitol (a fruit sugar often used as a sweetener in chewing gum, diet drinks, baked goods, or frozen desserts).
Do not use potassium supplements, calcium supplements, or salt substitutes while you are taking sodium polystyrene sulfonate, unless your doctor has told you to.
Avoid using antacids or laxatives without your doctor's advice. Antacids or laxatives can make sodium polystyrene sulfonate less effective, or cause serious side effects.
Kayexalate (sodium polystyrene sulfonate) side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Stop using sodium polystyrene sulfonate and call your doctor at once if you have:
stomach pain, rectal pain;
constipation, severe stomach pain, bloating;
fever, chills, vomiting;
confusion, thinking problems, feeling irritable;
low potassium--leg cramps, constipation, irregular heartbeats, fluttering in your chest, increased thirst or urination, numbness or tingling, muscle weakness or limp feeling;
low calcium--numbness or tingly feeling around your mouth, fast or slow heart rate, muscle tightness or contraction, overactive reflexes; or
signs of stomach bleeding--bloody or tarry stools, coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds.
Common side effects may include:
loss of appetite.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect Kayexalate (sodium polystyrene sulfonate)?
Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:
drugs that weaken the immune system such as cancer medicine, steroids, and medicines to prevent organ transplant rejection.
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with sodium polystyrene sulfonate, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.
More about Kayexalate (sodium polystyrene sulfonate)
Related treatment guides
Where can I get more information?
- Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about sodium polystyrene.
- Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
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