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Sodium polystyrene sulfonate Side Effects

For the Consumer

Applies to sodium polystyrene sulfonate: oral powder for suspension, oral suspension

Other dosage forms:

As well as its needed effects, sodium polystyrene sulfonate may cause unwanted side effects that require medical attention.

Major Side Effects

If any of the following side effects occur while taking sodium polystyrene sulfonate, check with your doctor immediately:

  • Bloody vomit
  • chest pain
  • cough
  • cough producing mucus
  • difficulty with breathing
  • fever or chills
  • severe stomach pain
  • shortness of breath
  • sneezing
  • sore throat
  • tightness in the chest
  • troubled breathing
  • wheezing
Incidence not known:
  • Abdominal or stomach cramps or pain
  • confusion
  • constipation
  • convulsions
  • decrease in the amount of urine
  • diarrhea
  • dry mouth
  • increased thirst
  • irregular heartbeats
  • loss of appetite
  • muscle cramps in the hands, arms, feet, legs, or face
  • nausea or vomiting
  • noisy, rattling breathing
  • numbness and tingling around the mouth, fingertips, or feet
  • severe constipation
  • swelling of the fingers, hands, feet, or lower legs
  • tremor
  • troubled breathing at rest
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • weight gain
  • weight loss

If any of the following symptoms of overdose occur while taking sodium polystyrene sulfonate, get emergency help immediately:

Symptoms of overdose:
  • Dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • fainting
  • fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat
  • lightheadedness
  • muscle cramps
  • muscle spasms (tetany) or twitching
  • pounding or rapid pulse
  • seizures
  • trembling

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to sodium polystyrene sulfonate: oral suspension, oral and rectal powder, oral and rectal suspension, rectal enema


Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Intestinal/colonic necrosis
Frequency not reported: Gastric irritation, nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, fecal impaction, intestinal obstruction, other serious gastrointestinal (GI) adverse reactions
Postmarketing reports: GI concretions/bezoars, ischemic colitis, GI tract ulceration, intestinal perforation, GI stenosis[Ref]

Nausea, vomiting, and constipation have occurred, especially with high doses. In clinical trials, fecal impaction occurred in geriatric patients given large doses; children have experienced impaction with rectal administration. Following oral administration, intestinal obstruction with aluminum hydroxide concretions and bezoar formation occurred in neonates. In postmarketing reports, gastrointestinal tract ulcerations, necrosis, and ischemic colitis may have resulted in intestinal perforation.[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Anorexia, hypokalemia, hypocalcemia, hypomagnesemia, significant sodium retention[Ref]

Nervous system

Postmarketing reports: Grand mal seizure[Ref]

A grand mal seizure occurred in 1 patient with renal dysfunction and concomitant use of this drug and magnesium hydroxide.[Ref]


Postmarketing reports: Acute bronchitis, bronchopneumonia[Ref]

Bronchitis with/without pneumonia occurred after inhalation of particles of this drug.[Ref]


1. "Product Information. Kayexalate (sodium polystyrene sulfonate)." Sanofi Winthrop Pharmaceuticals, New York, NY.

2. Cerner Multum, Inc. "Australian Product Information." O 0

3. Cerner Multum, Inc. "UK Summary of Product Characteristics." O 0

It is possible that some side effects of sodium polystyrene sulfonate may not have been reported. These can be reported to the FDA here. Always consult a healthcare professional for medical advice.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. In addition, the drug information contained herein may be time sensitive and should not be utilized as a reference resource beyond the date hereof. This material does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients, or recommend therapy. This information is a reference resource designed as supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill , knowledge, and judgement of healthcare practitioners in patient care. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate safety, effectiveness, or appropriateness for any given patient. does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of materials provided. 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 substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.