What is Kalexate?
Kalexate is a medicine that binds itself to potassium in your digestive tract. This helps prevent your body from absorbing too much potassium.
Kalexate is used to treat high levels of potassium in the blood, also called hyperkalemia.
Kalexate works differently from other medicines because it passes into your intestines without being absorbed into your blood stream.
Kalexate may also be used for purposes not listed here.
Do not give Kalexate orally (by mouth) to a newborn baby.
Avoid taking other medicines by mouth within 3 hours before or 3 hours after you take Kalexate (or 6 hours before/after if you have slow digestion).
Before taking this medicine
You should not use Kalexate if you are allergic to it, or if you have:
low potassium levels (hypokalemia); or
a bowel obstruction.
To make sure Kalexate is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:
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 bowel disorder, or surgery on your intestines;
if you are dehydrated; or
if you are on a low-salt diet.
Because Kalexate is not absorbed into the blood stream, this medicine is not expected to be harmful during pregnancy or while nursing a baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
How is 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.
Do not give this medicine orally (by mouth) to a newborn baby. Do not give either oral or rectal Kalexate to a baby who has slow digestion caused by surgery or by using other medicines.
Kalexate 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 Kalexate 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 Kalexate 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 Kalexate.
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 may cause low potassium or low calcium (leg cramps, constipation, increased thirst or urination, fast or slow heart rate, fluttering in your chest, numbness or tingling, muscle weakness or tightness).
What should I avoid while receiving Kalexate?
Kalexate can make it harder for your body to absorb medicines you take by mouth. This could make the other medicines less effective. Avoid taking other medicines within 3 hours before or 3 hours after you take this medicine.
If you have a condition that slows your digestion, avoid taking other medicines by mouth within 6 hours before or 6 hours after you take Kalexate.
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 Kalexate, unless your doctor has told you to.
Kalexate 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 Kalexate and call your doctor at once if you have:
stomach pain, rectal pain;
constipation, severe stomach pain, bloating;
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:
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 Kalexate?
Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:
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 Kalexate (sodium polystyrene sulfonate)
- Side Effects
- During Pregnancy
- Dosage Information
- Drug Interactions
- Support Group
- Pricing & Coupons
- En Español
- 0 Reviews – Add your own review/rating
- Drug class: cation exchange resins
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.
- Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 3.03.
Date modified: February 01, 2018
Last reviewed: September 07, 2017