Potassium chloride 20 meq

What is Potassium Chloride ER?

The dose medicines in this class 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 these medicines. 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 potassium bicarbonate

  • For oral dosage forms (tablets for solution):
    • To prevent potassium loss or replace potassium lost by the body:
      • Adults and teenagers—25 to 50 milliequivalents (mEq) dissolved in one-half to one glass of cold water, taken one or two times a day. Your doctor may change the dose if needed. However, most people will not take more than 100 mEq a day.
      • Children—Dose must be determined by your doctor.

    For potassium bicarbonate and potassium chloride

  • For oral dosage form (granules for solution):
    • To prevent potassium loss or replace potassium lost by the body:
      • Adults and teenagers—20 milliequivalents (mEq) dissolved in one-half to one glass of cold water, taken one or two times a day. Your doctor may change the dose if needed. However, most people will not take more than 100 mEq a day.
      • Children—Dose must be determined by your doctor.
  • For oral dosage form (tablets for solution):
    • To prevent potassium loss or replace potassium lost by the body:
      • Adults and teenagers—20, 25, or 50 mEq dissolved in one-half to one glass of cold water, taken one or two times a day. Your doctor may change the dose if needed. However, most people will not take more than 100 mEq a day.
      • Children—Dose must be determined by your doctor.

    For potassium bicarbonate and potassium citrate

  • For oral dosage form (tablets for solution):
    • To prevent potassium loss or replace potassium lost by the body:
      • Adults and teenagers—25 or 50 milliequivalents (mEq) dissolved in one-half to one glass of cold water, taken one or two times a day. Your doctor may change the dose if needed. However, most people will not take more than 100 mEq a day.
      • Children—Dose must be determined by your doctor.

    For potassium chloride

  • For long-acting oral dosage form (extended-release capsules):
    • To replace potassium lost by the body:
      • Adults and teenagers—40 to 100 milliequivalents (mEq) a day, divided into two or three smaller doses during the day. Your doctor may change the dose if needed. However, most people will not take more than 100 mEq a day.
    • To prevent potassium loss:
      • Adults and teenagers—16 to 24 mEq a day, divided into two or three smaller doses during the day. Your doctor may change the dose if needed. However, most people will not take more than 100 mEq a day.
      • Children—Dose must be determined by your doctor.
  • For long-acting oral dosage forms (liquid for solution):
    • To prevent potassium loss or replace potassium lost by the body:
      • Adults and teenagers—20 mEq mixed into one-half glass of cold water or juice, taken one to four times a day. Your doctor may change the dose if needed. However, most people will not take more than 100 mEq a day.
      • Children—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. The usual dose is 1 to 3 mEq of potassium per kilogram (kg) (0.45 to 1.36 mEq per pound) of body weight taken in smaller doses during the day. The solution should be well mixed in water or juice.
  • For oral dosage form (powder for solution):
    • To prevent potassium loss or replace potassium lost by the body:
      • Adults and teenagers—15 to 25 mEq dissolved in four to six ounces of cold water, taken two or four times a day. Your doctor may change the dose if needed. However, most people will not take more than 100 mEq a day.
      • Children—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. The usual dose is 1 to 3 mEq per kg (0.45 to 1.36 mEq per pound) of body weight taken in smaller doses during the day. The solution should be mixed into water or juice.
  • For oral dosage form (powder for suspension):
    • To prevent potassium loss or replace potassium lost by the body:
      • Adults and teenagers—20 mEq dissolved in two to six ounces of cold water, taken one to five times a day. Your doctor may change the dose if needed. However, most people will not take more than 100 mEq a day.
      • Children—Dose must be determined by your doctor.
  • For long-acting oral dosage form (extended-release tablets):
    • To prevent potassium loss or replace potassium lost by the body:
      • Adults and teenagers—6.7 to 20 mEq taken three times a day. However, most people will not take more than 100 mEq a day.
      • Children—Dose must be determined by your doctor.
  • For oral dosage form (liquid for solution):
    • To prevent potassium loss or replace potassium lost by the body:
      • Adults and teenagers—20 milliequivalents (mEq) mixed into one-half glass of cold water or juice, taken two to four times a day. Your doctor may change the dose if needed. However, most people will not take more than 100 mEq a day.
      • Children—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. The usual dose is 2 to 3 mEq per kilogram (kg) (0.9 to 1.36 mEq per pound) of body weight a day, taken in smaller doses during the day. The solution should be completely mixed into water or juice.
  • For oral dosage form (tablets):
    • To prevent potassium loss or replace potassium lost by the body:
      • Adults and teenagers—5 to 10 mEq taken two to four times a day. However, most people will not take more than 100 mEq a day.
      • Children—Dose must be determined by your doctor.

    For potassium gluconate and potassium chloride

  • For oral dosage form (liquid for solution):
    • To prevent potassium loss or replace potassium lost by the body:
      • Adults and teenagers—20 milliequivalents (mEq) diluted in 2 tablespoonfuls or more of cold water or juice, taken two to four times a day. Your doctor may change the dose if needed. However, most people will not take more than 100 mEq a day.
      • Children—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. The usual dose is 2 to 3 mEq per kilogram (kg) (0.9 to 1.36 mEq per pound) of body weight taken in smaller doses during the day. The solution should be well mixed into water or juice.
  • For oral dosage form (powder for solution):
    • To prevent potassium loss or replace potassium lost by the body:
      • Adults and teenagers—20 mEq mixed in 2 tablespoonfuls or more of cold water or juice taken two to four times a day. Your doctor may change the dose if needed. However, most people will not take more than 100 mEq a day.
      • Children—Dose is base on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. The usual dose is 2 to 3 mEq per kg (0.9 to 1.36 mEq per pound) of body weight taken in smaller doses during the day. The solution should be well mixed into water or juice.

    For potassium gluconate and potassium citrate

  • For oral dosage form (liquid for solution):
    • To prevent potassium loss or replace potassium lost by the body:
      • Adults and teenagers—20 milliequivalents (mEq) mixed into one-half glass of cold water or juice, taken two to four times a day. Your doctor may change the dose if needed. However, most people will not take more than 100 mEq a day.
      • Children—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. The usual dose is 2 to 3 mEq per kg (0.9 to 1.36 mEq per pound) of body weight taken in smaller doses during the day. The solution should be well mixed into water or juice.

    For trikates

  • For oral dosage form (liquid for solution):
    • To prevent potassium loss or replace potassium lost by the body:
      • Adults and teenagers—15 milliequivalents (mEq) mixed into one-half glass of cold water or juice, taken three or four times a day. Your doctor may change the dose if needed. However, most people will not take more than 100 mEq a day.
      • Children—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. The usual dose is 2 to 3 mEq per kilogram (kg) (0.9 to 1.36 mEq per pound) of body weight taken in smaller doses during the day. The solution should be well mixed into water or juice.

potassium chloride (Rx)

Contraindications

Hypersensitivity

Untreated Addison disease

Hyperkalemia

Concomitant use with triamterene and amiloride

Renal failure

Cautions

IV administration

Depending on volume and rate of IV infusion, and patient’s underlying clinical condition, intravenous administration of potassium chloride in sodium chloride can cause electrolyte disturbances such as overhydration/hypervolemia and congested states including central (e.g., pulmonary edema) and peripheral edema

Solutions containing sodium ions should be used with great care, if at all, in patients with congestive heart failure, severe renal insufficiency, and in clinical states in which there is sodium retention with edema

Administration of sodium and potassium in patients with or at risk of severe renal impairment, may result in hypernatremia, hyperkalemia and/or fluid overload; avoid potassium chloride in sodium chloride Injection, USP in patients with severe renal impairment

If use cannot be avoided, monitor patients with severe renal impairment for development of these adverse reactions

Rapid correction of hypernatremia is potentially dangerous with risk of serious neurologic complications; excessively rapid correction of hypernatremia is also associated with a risk for serious neurologic complications such as osmotic demyelination syndrome (ODS) with risk of seizures and cerebral edema

Rapid correction of hyponatremia is potentially dangerous with risk of serious neurologic complications; brain adaptations reducing risk of cerebral edema make the brain vulnerable to injury when chronic hyponatremia is too rapidly corrected, which is known as osmotic demyelination syndrome (ODS); to avoid complications, monitor serum sodium and chloride concentrations, fluid status, acid-base balance, and signs of neurologic complications

Avoid potassium chloride in sodium chloride injection, USP in patients with or at risk for fluid and/or solute overloading; if use cannot be avoided, monitor fluid balance, electrolyte concentrations and acid base balance as needed and especially during prolonged use

Solutions containing potassium ions should be used with great care, if at all, in patients with hyperkalemia, severe renal failure, and in conditions in which potassium retention is present

The risk for hyponatremia is increased in pediatric patients, elderly patients, postoperative patients, those with psychogenic polydipsia, and in patients treated with medications that increase risk of hyponatremia (such as diuretics, certain antiepileptic and psychotropic medications)

Use with care in patients with hypervolemia, renal insufficiency, urinary tract obstruction, or impending or frank cardiac decompensation

Extraordinary electrolyte losses such as may occur during protracted nasogastric suction, vomiting, diarrhea or gastrointestinal fistula drainage may necessitate additional electrolyte supplementation

Additional essential electrolytes, minerals and vitamins should be supplied as needed

Sodium-containing solutions should be administered with caution to patients receiving corticosteroids or corticotropin, or to other salt-retaining patients

Care should be exercised in administering solutions containing sodium or potassium to patients with renal or cardiovascular insufficiency, with or without congestive heart failure, particularly if they are postoperative or elderly

Potassium therapy should be guided primarily by serial electrocardiograms, especially in patients receiving digitalis

Serum potassium levels are not necessarily indicative of tissue potassium levels

Solutions containing potassium should be used with caution in the presence of cardiac disease, particularly when accompanied by renal disease

Potassium chloride in sodium chloride may cause hyponatremia; hyponatremia can lead to acute hyponatremic encephalopathy characterized by headache, nausea, seizures, lethargy, and vomiting; patients with brain edema are at particular risk of severe, irreversible and life-threatening brain injury

Solutions containing dextrose should be used with caution in patients with overt or known subclinical diabetes mellitus, or carbohydrate intolerance for any reason

Perform continuous cardiac monitoring in patients requiring highly concentrated solutions and perform frequent testing for serum potassium and acid-base balance, especially if they receive digitalis

Avoid potassium chloride injection in patients with or at risk for hyponatremia; if use cannot be avoided, monitor serum sodium concentrations

Extravasation

  • Care must be taken when infusing concentrated potassium solutions, including potassium chloride injection, to prevent paravenous administration or extravasation; such solutions may be associated with tissue damage, which may be severe and include vascular, nerve, and tendon damage, leading to surgical intervention, including amputation
  • Secondary complications including pulmonary embolism from thrombophlebitis reported as a consequence of tissue damage from potassium chloride

Oral administration

  • Solid oral dosage forms of potassium chloride can produce ulcerative and/or stenotic lesions of gastrointestinal tract, particularly if drug maintains contact with gastrointestinal mucosa for prolonged periods; consider use of liquid potassium in patients with dysphagia, swallowing disorders, or severe gastrointestinal motility disorders
  • If severe vomiting, abdominal pain, distention, or gastrointestinal bleeding occurs, discontinue therapy and consider possibility of ulceration, obstruction or perforation
  • Oral formulation should not be taken on an empty stomach because of its potential for gastric irritation

Generic Name: potassium chloride (poe TASS ee um)
Brand Names: Kal Potassium 99, Klor-Con, K-Tab

Medically reviewed by Sanjai Sinha, MD Last updated on Jan 19, 2019.

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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.

Important information

You should not use potassium chloride if you have high levels of potassium in your blood (hyperkalemia), or if you also take a “potassium-sparing” diuretic.

To be sure potassium chloride is helping your condition, your blood may need to be tested often. Your heart rate may also be checked using an electrocardiograph or ECG (sometimes called an EKG) to measure electrical activity of the heart. This test will help your doctor determine how long to treat you with potassium. Do not miss any scheduled appointments.

Serious side effects of potassium include uneven heartbeat, muscle weakness or limp feeling, severe stomach pain, and numbness or tingling in your hands, feet, or mouth.

Do not stop taking this medicine without first talking to your doctor. If you stop taking this medicine suddenly, your condition may become worse.

Do not crush, chew, break, or suck on an extended-release tablet or capsule. Swallow the pill whole. Breaking or crushing the pill may cause too much of the drug to be released at one time. Sucking on a tablet can irritate your mouth or throat. Take potassium chloride with food or just after a meal.

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

  • you take a “potassium-sparing” diuretic (water pill) such as amiloride, spironolactone, or triamterene.

To make sure this medicine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • kidney disease;

  • cirrhosis or other liver disease;

  • an adrenal gland disorder;

  • a large tissue injury such as a severe burn;

  • severe dehydration;

  • diabetes;

  • heart disease or high blood pressure;

  • stomach or intestinal bleeding;

  • a blockage in your stomach or intestines; or

  • chronic diarrhea (such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease).

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 breast-feeding.

Do not give this medicine to a child without medical advice.

How should I take potassium chloride?

Take potassium chloride exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose.

Read and carefully follow any Instructions for Use provided with your medicine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you do not understand these instructions.

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 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). Even if you have no symptoms, tests can help your doctor determine if this medicine is effective.

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.

Some tablets are made with a shell that is not absorbed or melted in the body. Part of this shell may appear in your stool. This is normal and will not make the medicine less effective.

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 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 to potassium chloride: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using this medicine and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • severe throat irritation;

  • stomach bloating, severe vomiting, severe stomach pain;

  • high potassium level – nausea, weakness, tingly feeling, chest pain, irregular heartbeats, loss of movement; or

  • signs of stomach bleeding – bloody or tarry stools, coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds.

Common potassium chloride 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.

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.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use potassium chloride only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Copyright 1996-2020 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 11.01.

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  • Drug class: minerals and electrolytes
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Consumer resources

  • Potassium Chloride Extended-Release Capsules
  • Potassium Chloride Extended-Release Tablets
  • Potassium Chloride Injection Solution
  • Potassium Chloride Liquid and Powder

Other brands: Klor-Con, K-Dur, Micro-K, K-Tab, … +2 more

Professional resources

  • Potassium Chloride (Wolters Kluwer)
  • … +6 more

Related treatment guides

  • Hypokalemia
  • Prevention of Hypokalemia

The Best Time of Day to Take Medication

When a prescription label reads, “Take one tablet by mouth once daily,” does that mean every day at 8:00 AM? Whenever you eat lunch? Whatever time works best for your daily schedule? The answer: it depends.

Maintenance medications – meds you take daily to manage a condition or treat a chronic problem – are most effective when you:

  • Take them around the same time every day, which also helps you remember to take them.
  • Take them at the best time, when they work with your body’s natural rhythms and help you receive the maximum amount of benefit from them.
  • Know that even a small change in the amount of medication your body absorbs can have a big impact on how you feel.

Always check with the pharmacist and your healthcare team about when to take medications. But here are some general guidelines.

When to Take Your Medications

Blood pressure. Timing depends on medicine type. Generally take diuretics early in the day and everything else at bedtime. If you take several meds for blood pressure, take some in the morning and some before bedtime.

There are many medication options for treating high blood pressure and people often use more than one. Some prescriptions are taken once a day; others two or even three times a day. If you don’t know what kind of medication you are taking, check here to get an idea.

Diuretics, or “water-pills:” Take early in the day. If you need a second dose, take it by mid-afternoon to avoid extra trips to the bathroom at nighttime. Diuretics cause you to urinate more and can disrupt sleep if taken near bedtime.

Other kinds of once-a-day blood pressure pills: If you are over age 55, it’s usually best to take them at night. As you age, your blood pressure no longer dips during your sleep like it does when you’re younger, increasing your risk for stroke and heart attack. Taking blood pressure meds at night can decrease that risk.

Two to take at night are ACE inhibitors (angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors) and ARBs (angiotensin II receptor blockers).

Two or more blood pressure medications: If you take more than two medications to control your blood pressure, it may be best to split them up. Take one or two in the morning and the other one or two before bedtime.

Thyroid. Take first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.

Many people need to take thyroid medications to replace the hormones their thyroids are no longer making. Thyroid medications can interact with other meds so always take them on an empty stomach with no other medications.

Cholesterol. Take statins before bedtime.

Statins are the most commonly used medications to maintain lower blood cholesterol levels. Statin medications slow your body’s process of making cholesterol. Normally the body ramps up production of cholesterol when you haven’t eaten for a while or while you are sleeping. So in general you take statin medications in the evening between dinner and bedtime to slow cholesterol production.

Some of the newer statins last longer in the body after you take them. With these, it’s less important to take them in the evening. However, taking them at bedtime might still make them more effective.

Talk to Your Healthcare Team

The best way to take medications can vary not only with the drug but with individual factors like age.

It’s important to let your doctor and pharmacist know about everything you’re taking, including over-the-counter products, because medications can interact with each other, changing how they work.

Keep an updated list of all of your medications in your purse or wallet in case of a medical emergency. It’s hard to remember names, doses, and instructions.

Take The Right Dose At The Right Time

The bottom line for all medications is they work best when taken the right way and consistently. Try setting cell phone reminders, using a pill box, or keeping a daily log of your medication to avoid missing a dose. If you do miss a dose, resume your normal dosage the following day. “Doubling up” is usually not recommended. Call your pharmacist or doctor’s office for instructions.

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