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Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate

Class: Potassium-removing Agents
- Antidotes
VA Class: AD400
CAS Number: 9003-59-2
Brands: Kionex, SPS

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com on Nov 2, 2021. Written by ASHP.

Introduction

A sulfonated cation-exchange resin used for the removal of excess potassium.

Uses for Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate

Hyperkalemia

Treatment of hyperkalemia. Used as an adjunct to other measures (e.g., restriction of electrolyte intake, control of acidosis, high-calorie diet).

Prior to initiating therapy, determine cause of hyperkalemia and eliminate if possible.

Because of its slow action (effective lowering of serum potassium may occur within hours to days), sodium polystyrene sulfonate alone may be insufficient to rapidly correct severe hyperkalemia, including that associated with states of rapid tissue breakdown (e.g., burns, renal failure). Not recommended for treatment of hyperkalemia evidenced by conduction defects (widening of the QRS complex) or arrhythmias.

Most useful when hyperkalemia is not life-threatening or when other measures have reduced the dangers of hyperkalemia. Do not use as an emergency treatment for life-threatening hyperkalemia. If severe hyperkalemia occurs, consider other definitive measures, including dialysis.

Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate Dosage and Administration

General

  • Dosage and duration of therapy must be individualized and depend on frequent assessment of total body potassium.

Administration

Administer orally or rectally.

Oral Administration

Administer orally ≥3 hours before or ≥3 hours after other orally administered drugs. In patients with gastroparesis, increase the separation time to 6 hours. (See Interactions.)

Administer orally as a suspension (either as the commercially available suspension or prepared extemporaneously from the powdered resin).

May be mixed with a diet appropriate for a patient in renal failure. Do not mix with foods or liquids that contain a large amount of potassium (e.g., bananas, orange juice).

Suspension also may be introduced into the stomach via a tube.

Prior to administration, shake suspension well.

Follow full precautions to prevent aspiration (e.g., keep patient in upright position during administration).

Reconstitution

Reconstitute each 1 g of the powdered resin in 3–4 mL of water or a syrup; usually 20–100 mL of fluid is used.

Rectal Administration

Administer rectally as a retention enema by gravity feed (either as the commercially available suspension or prepared extemporaneously from the powdered resin).

Prior to administration, administer an initial cleansing enema, and then insert a soft, large (French 28) rubber tube about 20 cm into the rectum, with the tip well into the sigmoid colon, and tape in place.

Prior to administration, warm suspension to body temperature and shake well.

During administration, stir the extemporaneously prepared suspension to keep it in suspension. The tube may be flushed with 50–100 mL of fluid, clamped, and left in place. If back-leakage occurs, the hips should be elevated on pillows or a knee-chest position assumed.

Retain suspension in the colon for at least 30–60 minutes or for several hours if possible, then irrigate the colon with a non-sodium-containing solution at body temperature to remove the resin. Returns should be drained constantly through a Y-tube connection. Approximately 2 L of irrigating solution may be needed to adequately flush out the resin; proper removal of resin is particularly important if sorbitol is used (sorbitol use is not recommended).

Alternatively, some clinicians recommend placing the resin in a sealed dialysis bag and inserting the bag into the rectum.

Reconstitution

Suspend appropriate dose of powdered resin in 100–200 mL of an aqueous vehicle (e.g., 1% methylcellulose, 10% dextrose, water) at body temperature.

A thicker suspension may be used; however, care should be taken that a paste, which would greatly reduce the exchange surface and be particularly ineffective if deposited in the rectal ampulla, is not formed.

Dosage

Pediatric Patients

Hyperkalemia
Oral

Infants and small children: Reduced dosage recommended. Calculate dosage based on the fact that 1 g of the resin binds approximately 1 mEq of potassium.

Oral administration contraindicated in neonates. (See Pediatric Use under Cautions.)

Rectal

Infants and small children: Reduced dosage recommended. Calculate dosage based on the fact that 1 g of the resin binds approximately 1 mEq of potassium.

Some manufacturers state rectal administration is contraindicated in neonates and premature infants. (See Pediatric Use under Cautions.)

Adults

Hyperkalemia
Oral

15 g (approximately 4 level teaspoonfuls of the powder or 60 mL of the commercially available suspension) 1–4 times daily (average 15–60 g daily).

Rectal

May administer 30–50 g (120–200 mL of the commercially available suspension) every 6 hours.

Cautions for Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate

Contraindications

  • Hypokalemia.

  • Obstructive bowel disease.

  • Neonates with decreased gut mobility.

  • Oral administration contraindicated in neonates. Some manufacturers state that use (oral or rectal) is contraindicated in neonates and premature infants. (See Pediatric Use under Cautions.)

  • Known hypersensitivity to sodium polystyrene sulfonate resins.

Warnings/Precautions

Serious Adverse GI Effects

Intestinal necrosis, which may be fatal, and other serious adverse GI events (bleeding, ischemic colitis, perforation) reported. Most cases involved concomitant sorbitol use; many of the patients had risk factors for adverse GI events (e.g., prematurity, history of intestinal disease or surgery, hypovolemia, renal insufficiency or failure).

Concomitant administration of sorbitol not recommended. Most commercially available suspensions reformulated without sorbitol; however, preparations in 33% sorbitol vehicle remain commercially available.

Use only in patients with normal bowel function. Avoid use in patients who have not had a bowel movement following surgery.

Avoid use in patients at risk for developing constipation or impaction (e.g., those with history of fecal impaction, chronic constipation, inflammatory bowel disease, ischemic colitis, vascular intestinal atherosclerosis, previous bowel resection, or bowel obstruction).

Discontinue use if constipation occurs.

Electrolyte Disturbances

Possible severe hypokalemia (manifested by irritable confusion, delayed thought processes, muscle cramps, muscle weakness, and, occasionally, frank paralysis), ECG abnormalities (e.g., lengthened QT intervals; widened, flat, or inverted T waves; prominent U waves), and cardiac abnormalities (e.g., premature atrial, nodal, or ventricular contractions; supraventricular and ventricular tachycardias) may occur.

Intracellular potassium deficiency is not always reflected by serum potassium levels; individualize decision to discontinue sodium polystyrene sulfonate therapy, taking into account patient's clinical condition and ECG.

Cation-exchange action is not totally selective for potassium; possible increased excretion of other cations (e.g., magnesium, calcium).

Determine serum potassium concentrations frequently within each 24-hour period. Closely monitor ECGs and clinical condition of the patient during therapy.

Monitor for other electrolyte (e.g., calcium, magnesium) abnormalities.

Sodium Content

Each 1 g of the powdered resin contains approximately 4.1 mEq of sodium; each 60 mL of the commercially available suspension contains 68.5 mEq of sodium.

Clinically important sodium retention may occur. Use with caution in patients who cannot tolerate even a small increase in sodium loads (e.g., heart failure, hypertension, edema); restriction of sodium intake from other sources may be required.

Pulmonary Effects

Acute bronchitis and bronchopneumonia caused by aspiration of sodium polystyrene sulfonate particles reported. Patients with an impaired gag reflex, altered level of consciousness, or predisposition to regurgitation may be at increased risk of aspiration.

Take precautions to prevent aspiration (e.g., keep patient in upright position during oral administration).

Binding to Other Drugs

May bind to other concomitantly administered oral drugs, reducing absorption and efficacy of these drugs; separate oral administration times by ≥3 hours (6 hours in those with gastroparesis). (See Interactions.)

Specific Populations

Pregnancy

Category C.

Animal reproduction studies not performed. Not absorbed systemically following oral or rectal administration; use in pregnant women not expected to cause fetal harm.

Lactation

Not absorbed systemically; breast-feeding not expected to result in risk to infants of sodium polystyrene sulfonate-treated women.

Pediatric Use

Efficacy not established.

Administer rectally with particular caution; excessive dosages or inadequate dilution may result in impaction of the resin. Ensure adequate volume of non-sodium-containing cleansing enemas after rectal administration.

Premature or low-birthweight infants may have increased risk of adverse GI effects (e.g., intestinal necrosis) with sodium polystyrene sulfonate use. Some manufacturers state that use is contraindicated in premature infants.

Contraindicated in neonates with reduced gut motility.

Oral administration contraindicated in neonates. Some manufacturers state rectal administration also is contraindicated in neonates.

Geriatric Use

Large doses in geriatric individuals may cause fecal impaction.

Renal Impairment

Severe systemic alkalosis and a tonic-clonic seizure reported in one patient with chronic hypocalcemia secondary to renal failure who received magnesium hydroxide and sodium polystyrene sulfonate concomitantly. (See Specific Drugs under Interactions.)

Common Adverse Effects

Gastric irritation, anorexia, constipation, diarrhea, fecal impaction, GI concretions (bezoars), nausea, vomiting, hypokalemia, hypocalcemia, hypomagnesemia, clinically important sodium retention.

Interactions for Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate

Effects on GI Absorption of Drugs

May bind to other oral drugs, potentially reducing GI absorption of the drugs and resulting in loss of efficacy when administration times are close to those of oral sodium polystyrene sulfonate.

Administer other oral agents ≥3 hours before or ≥3 hours after oral administration of sodium polystyrene sulfonate. In patients with gastroparesis or other conditions resulting in delayed gastric emptying, separate the administration times by 6 hours. Monitor clinical response and/or blood concentrations of the drugs whenever possible.

Specific Drugs

Drug

Interaction

Comments

Amlodipine

Binds to amlodipine in vitro; possible decreased absorption and efficacy of amlodipine

Separate oral administration times by ≥3 hours; increase separation time to 6 hours in patients with gastroparesis

Monitor clinical response

Amoxicillin

Binds to amoxicillin in vitro; possible decreased absorption and efficacy of amoxicillin

Separate oral administration times by ≥3 hours; increase separation time to 6 hours in patients with gastroparesis

Monitor clinical response

Antacids, cation-donating (e.g., aluminum carbonate, aluminum hydroxide, magnesium hydroxide, calcium carbonate)

Possible reduced potassium exchange capability

Concomitant oral administration of sodium polystyrene sulfonate may result in systemic alkalosis

Possible intestinal obstruction due to concretions of aluminum hydroxide

Concomitant use of oral sodium polystyrene sulfonate with magnesium hydroxide not recommended

Rectal use of sodium polystyrene sulfonate may avoid systemic alkalosis

Cardiac glycosides

Sodium polystyrene sulfonate-induced hypokalemia may increase toxic effects of cardiac glycosides on the heart (e.g., ventricular arrhythmias, AV nodal dissociation) (see Electrolyte Disturbances under Cautions)

Furosemide

Binds to furosemide in vitro; possible decreased absorption and efficacy of furosemide

Separate oral administration times by ≥3 hours; increase separation time to 6 hours in patients with gastroparesis

Monitor clinical response

Laxatives, cation-donating

Possible reduced potassium exchange capability

Concomitant oral administration of sodium polystyrene sulfonate may result in systemic alkalosis

Concomitant use of oral sodium polystyrene sulfonate with magnesium hydroxide not recommended

Rectal use of sodium polystyrene sulfonate may avoid systemic alkalosis)

Lithium

Possible decreased absorption of lithium

Separate oral administration times by ≥3 hours; increase separation time to 6 hours in patients with gastroparesis

Monitor clinical response and/or blood concentrations

Metoprolol

Binds to metoprolol in vitro; possible decreased absorption and efficacy of metoprolol

Separate oral administration times by ≥3 hours; increase separation time to 6 hours in patients with gastroparesis

Monitor clinical response

Phenytoin

Binds to phenytoin in vitro; possible decreased absorption and efficacy of phenytoin

Separate oral administration times by ≥3 hours; increase separation time to 6 hours in patients with gastroparesis

Monitor clinical response and/or blood concentrations

Sorbitol

Possible intestinal necrosis

Concomitant administration not recommended

Thyroxine

Possible decreased absorption of thyroxine

Separate oral administration times by ≥3 hours; increase separation time to 6 hours in patients with gastroparesis

Monitor clinical response and/or blood concentrations

Warfarin

Binds to warfarin in vitro; possible decreased absorption and efficacy of warfarin

Separate oral administration times by ≥3 hours; increase separation time to 6 hours in patients with gastroparesis

Monitor clinical response

Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate Pharmacokinetics

Absorption

Onset

Following administration, effective lowering of serum potassium may take hours to days.

Elimination

Elimination Route

Modified resin is excreted in the feces.

Stability

Storage

Oral or Rectal

Powder for Suspension

20–25°C; some preparations may be exposed to 15–30°C.

Suspension (Sorbitol-free or in 33% Sorbitol Vehicle)

20–25°C; some preparations may be exposed to 15–30°C. If repackaged, refrigerate and use within 14 days of repackaging.

Extemporaneous suspensions of the resin should be freshly prepared and should not be stored for >24 hours.

Suspension should not be heated because changes in the exchange properties of the resin may occur.

Actions

  • A cation-exchange resin used for the removal of excess potassium.

  • Releases sodium in exchange for other cations (e.g., potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, organic cations, lipids, steroids, proteins).

  • Sodium is released from the resin in exchange for potassium primarily in the large intestine, where there is a relatively high concentration of potassium present. Each 1 g of the resin has an in vitro exchange capacity of about 3.1 mEq of potassium; an in vivo exchange capacity >1 mEq of potassium per g of resin is not likely.

Advice to Patients

  • Importance of advising patients to administer other oral drugs ≥3 hours before or ≥3 hours after oral administration of sodium polystyrene sulfonate.

  • Importance of informing clinicians of existing or contemplated concomitant therapy, including prescription and OTC drugs, as well as any concomitant illnesses.

  • Importance of women informing clinicians if they are or plan to become pregnant or plan to breast-feed.

  • Importance of informing patients of other important precautionary information. (See Cautions.)

Preparations

Excipients in commercially available drug preparations may have clinically important effects in some individuals; consult specific product labeling for details.

Please refer to the ASHP Drug Shortages Resource Center for information on shortages of one or more of these preparations.

* available from one or more manufacturer, distributor, and/or repackager by generic (nonproprietary) name

Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate

Routes

Dosage Forms

Strengths

Brand Names

Manufacturer

Oral or Rectal

Powder, for suspension

Kionex

Perrigo

Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate Powder

Suspension

1.25 g/5 mL*

Kionex

Perrigo

Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate Suspension

SPS

CMP

AHFS DI Essentials™. © Copyright 2022, Selected Revisions November 12, 2018. American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 4500 East-West Highway, Suite 900, Bethesda, Maryland 20814.

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