Medically reviewed: September 14, 2017
What is potassium chloride?
Potassium is a mineral that is found in many foods and is needed for several functions of your body, especially the beating of your heart.
Potassium chloride is used to prevent or to treat low blood levels of potassium (hypokalemia). Potassium levels can be low as a result of a disease or from taking certain medicines, or after a prolonged illness with diarrhea or vomiting.
Potassium chloride may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
You should not use this medicine if you have high levels of potassium in your blood (hyperkalemia), or if you also take a "potassium-sparing" diuretic.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use potassium chloride if you are allergic to it, or if you have:
high levels of potassium in your blood (hyperkalemia); or
To make sure potassium chloride is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:
an adrenal gland disorder;
a large tissue injury such as a severe burn;
heart disease or high blood pressure;
stomach or intestinal bleeding;
a blockage in your stomach or intestines; or
It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Your dose needs may be different during pregnancy. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
It is not known whether potassium chloride passes into breast milk or if it could affect the nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. Your dose needs may be different while you are nursing.
How should I take potassium chloride?
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Take potassium chloride with a full glass of water. Take the medicine with food or just after a meal.
Measure liquid medicine with the dosing syringe provided, or with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.
Do not crush, chew, or suck on a potassium tablet or capsule. Sucking on the pill could irritate your mouth or throat.
Call your doctor if you have trouble swallowing a potassium chloride capsule or tablet. You may be able to dissolve the tablet in water, or mix the medicine from a capsule with soft food. Carefully follow your doctor's instructions.
Mix the powder form of this medicine with at least 4 ounces (one-half cup) of cold water or fruit juice before taking. Drink the mixture slowly, over 5 to 10 minutes in all. To make sure you get the entire dose, add a little more water to the same glass, swirl gently and drink right away.
To be sure this medicine is helping your condition, you may need frequent blood tests. You may not notice any change in your symptoms, but your blood work will help your doctor determine how long to treat you with potassium chloride. Your heart function may need to be checked using an electrocardiograph or ECG (sometimes called an EKG).
Your treatment may include a special diet. Follow the diet plan created for you by your doctor or nutrition counselor. Get familiar with the list of foods you should eat or avoid to help control your condition.
Potassium-rich foods include: squash, baked potatoes (skin on), spinach, lentils, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, zucchini, kidney or navy beans, raisins, watermelon, orange juice, bananas, cantaloupe, and low-fat milk or yogurt. Consume only the daily amounts recommended by your doctor or nutrition counselor.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep the medication in a closed container.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take 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 irregular heartbeats, chest pain, or muscle weakness.
What should I avoid while taking potassium chloride?
Avoid taking potassium supplements or using other products that contain potassium without first asking your doctor. Salt substitutes or low-salt dietary products often contain potassium. If you take certain products together you may accidentally get too much potassium. Read the label of any other medicine you are using to see if it contains potassium.
Potassium chloride 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 potassium chloride and call your doctor at once if you have:
severe throat irritation;
high potassium--nausea, slow or unusual heart rate, weakness, loss of movement; or
signs of stomach bleeding--bloody or tarry stools, coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds.
Common side effects may include:
nausea, vomiting, diarrhea;
gas, stomach pain; or
the appearance of a potassium chloride tablet in your stool.
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 potassium chloride?
Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:
a diuretic or "water pill"; or
heart or blood pressure medication.
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with potassium chloride, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.
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.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Copyright 1996-2018 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 10.01.
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