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Potassium bicarbonate/ citric acid

Generic Name: potassium bicarbonate/citric acid (poe-TAS-ee-um bye-KAR-bo-nate/SIT-rik AS-id)
Brand Name: Effer-K

Potassium bicarbonate/ citric acid is used for:

Preventing or treating low blood potassium levels in certain patients. It also may be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Potassium bicarbonate/citric acid is a potassium supplement. It replaces potassium in the blood.

Do NOT use potassium bicarbonate/ citric acid if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in potassium bicarbonate/citric acid
  • you have high potassium or nitrogen levels in the blood
  • you have decreased urine output
  • you are taking an aldosterone blocker (eg, eplerenone), an aluminum salt (eg, aluminum hydroxide), or a potassium-sparing diuretic (eg, spironolactone)

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using potassium bicarbonate/ citric acid:

Some medical conditions may interact with potassium bicarbonate/citric acid. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have heart problems (eg, irregular heartbeat, heart block), kidney problems, difficulty swallowing, stomach or bowel blockage, peptic ulcer, or uncontrolled diabetes
  • if you have diarrhea, dehydration, severe burns or other tissue damage, adrenal gland problems, or certain hereditary problems (eg, familial periodic paralysis, myotonia congenita)
  • if you are on a sodium-restricted diet

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with potassium bicarbonate/citric acid. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (eg, enalapril), aldosterone blockers (eg, eplerenone), or potassium-sparing diuretics (eg, spironolactone) because the risk of severe high blood potassium with irregular heartbeat or heart attack may be increased
  • Aluminum salts (eg, aluminum hydroxide) because the risk of their side effects may be increased by potassium bicarbonate/citric acid
  • Beta-blockers (eg, propranolol), cyclosporine, digoxin, heparin, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (eg, ibuprofen) because blood potassium levels may be increased

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if potassium bicarbonate/citric acid may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use potassium bicarbonate/ citric acid:

Use potassium bicarbonate/citric acid as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Do not remove the tablet from the foil pouch until you are ready to take potassium bicarbonate/citric acid.
  • Do NOT chew or swallow the tablet. To prepare potassium bicarbonate/citric acid, dissolve the tablet in 3 oz/90 mL of cold liquid. Flavored tablets may be dissolved in cold water or ice water. Unflavored tablets may be dissolved in cold juice. Allow the tablet to dissolve completely.
  • To take potassium bicarbonate/citric acid, sip the prepared mixture over 5 to 10 minutes along with or just after a meal or snack. Rinse the container with an additional small amount of water of juice and drink the contents to be sure the entire dose is taken.
  • If you miss a dose of potassium bicarbonate/citric acid, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use potassium bicarbonate/citric acid.

Important safety information:

  • Check with your doctor before you use a salt substitute or a product that has potassium in it.
  • Check with your doctor before you make any changes to your diet or exercise program.
  • Lab tests, including blood potassium and other electrolyte levels, kidney function, and electrocardiogram (ECG), may be performed while you use potassium bicarbonate/citric acid. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Potassium bicarbonate/citric acid should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN; safety and effectiveness in children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using potassium bicarbonate/citric acid while you are pregnant. It is not known if this medicine is found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use potassium bicarbonate/citric acid, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of potassium bicarbonate/ citric acid:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Diarrhea; loose stools; nausea; upset stomach; vomiting.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); black, tarry stools; confusion; irregular heartbeat; severe or persistent stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea; tingling of the hands or feet; vomit that looks like coffee grounds; weakness.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include confusion; fainting; irregular heartbeat; seizures; sluggishness; weakness.

Proper storage of potassium bicarbonate/citric acid:

Store potassium bicarbonate/citric acid at room temperature, between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep potassium bicarbonate/citric acid out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about potassium bicarbonate/citric acid, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Potassium bicarbonate/citric acid is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take potassium bicarbonate/citric acid or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about potassium bicarbonate/citric acid. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to potassium bicarbonate/citric acid. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using potassium bicarbonate/citric acid.

Issue Date: June 3, 2015

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.