Generic name: potassium citrate [ poe-TAS-ee-um-SIT-rate ]
Drug class: Urinary pH modifiers
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Aug 27, 2022.
Uses for potassium citrate
Potassium citrate is used to treat a kidney stone condition called renal tubular acidosis. It is also used to prevent kidney stones that may occur with gout.
Potassium citrate is a urinary alkalinizer. It works by making the urine more alkaline (less acid).
This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.
Before using potassium citrate
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of potassium citrate in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.
No information is available on the relationship of age to the effects of potassium citrate in geriatric patients.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with Medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking this medicine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.
- Glycopyrronium Tosylate
- Oxitropium Bromide
- Pipenzolate Bromide
Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Amtolmetin Guacil
- Azilsartan Medoxomil
- Choline Salicylate
- Flufenamic Acid
- Mefenamic Acid
- Niflumic Acid
- Nimesulide Beta Cyclodextrin
- Salicylic Acid
- Sodium Salicylate
- Tiaprofenic Acid
- Tolfenamic Acid
Interactions with Food/Tobacco/Alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other Medical Problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Acidosis (high acid in the blood) or
- Electrolyte imbalance (high or low sodium, chloride, or carbon dioxide in the blood) or
- Heart disease or
- Kidney disease—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
- Adrenal problems or
- Dehydration or
- Diabetes mellitus, uncontrolled or
- Hyperkalemia (high potassium in the blood) or
- Kidney failure or
- Infection (e.g., urinary tract infection) or
- Peptic ulcer or
- Stomach problems (e.g., intestinal blockage, digestion problems) or
- Tissue injury—Should not be used in patients with these conditions.
Proper use of potassium citrate
Take this medicine exactly as directed by your doctor. Do not take more of it, do not take it more often, and do not take it for a longer time than your doctor ordered. To do so may increase the chance of side effects.
In addition to the use of this medicine, treatment for your kidney stones may include changes in the types of foods you eat, especially foods high in sodium (salt). Your doctor will tell you which of these are most important for you. You should check with your doctor before changing your diet.
It is best to take this medicine with a meal or bedtime snack, or within 30 minutes after meals.
Swallow the extended-release tablet whole. Do not break, crush, chew, or suck it. Doing so, may cause irritation in the mouth or throat.
Tell your doctor if you have trouble swallowing the tablets, or if the tablet seems to stick or gets stuck in your throat.
While taking the extended-release tablet, part of it may pass into your stools. This is normal and is nothing to worry about.
Drink extra fluids so you will pass more urine while you are using this medicine. This will keep your kidneys working well and help prevent kidney problems.
The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
- For oral dosage form (extended-release tablets):
- For treatment and prevention of kidney stones:
- Adults—At first, 15 to 30 milliequivalents (mEq) two times a day, or 10 to 20 mEq three times a day. Your doctor may increase your dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 100 mEq per day.
- Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
- For treatment and prevention of kidney stones:
If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.
Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.
Keep out of the reach of children.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.
Precautions while using potassium citrate
It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure that this medicine is working properly. Blood and urine tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.
You should not take this medicine if you are also using atropine, benztropine (Cogentin®), glycopyrrolate (Robinul®), or a diuretic or "water pill" (such as amiloride, spironolactone, triamterene, Aldactone®, Dyrenium®, or Midamor®). Using these medicines together may cause serious problems.
Hyperkalemia (high potassium in the blood) may occur while you are using this medicine. Stop using this medicine and check with your doctor right away if you have the following symptoms: abdominal or stomach pain; confusion; difficulty with breathing; irregular heartbeat; nausea or vomiting; nervousness; numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or lips; shortness of breath; or weakness or heaviness of the legs.
Stop using this medicine and check with your doctor right away if you have bloody or black, tarry stools; constipation; severe stomach pain; or vomiting of blood or material that looks like coffee grounds. These may be symptoms of a serious stomach problem.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.
Side Effects of potassium citrate
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
Incidence not known
- Abdominal or stomach discomfort
Get emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms of overdose occur:
Symptoms of overdose
- Abdominal or stomach pain
- difficult breathing
- irregular heartbeat
- numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or lips
- shortness of breath
- weakness or heaviness of the legs
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
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