This medication is a mineral supplement used to prevent or treat low amounts of potassium in the blood. A normal level of potassium in the blood is important so that your cells, nerves, heart, muscles, and kidneys work properly. Normal blood levels of potassium are usually achieved by eating a well-balanced diet. However, certain situations cause your body to lose potassium faster than you can replace it from your diet. These situations include treatment with certain "water pills" (diuretics), a poor diet, or certain medical conditions (e.g., severe diarrhea especially with vomiting).
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
How To Use
Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor. To prevent stomach upset, take each dose with a meal and a full glass (8 ounces or 240 milliliters) of water unless your doctor directs you otherwise. Do not lie down for 10 minutes after taking this medication. If your total daily dosage is more than 20 milliequivalents, your doctor may direct you to divide the daily dose so that you take smaller amounts of medication several times a day, but do not take more than 20 milliequivalents as a single dose. This will also help to reduce stomach upset. Take this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. Remember to take it at the same time(s) each day. Dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy. Do not increase your dose or take it more often than prescribed. Too much potassium in the blood can cause serious side effects. Do not crush, chew, or suck extended-release capsules or tablets. Doing so can release all of the drug at once, increasing the risk of side effects. Also, do not split extended-release tablets unless they have a score line and your doctor or pharmacist tells you to do so. Swallow the whole or split tablet without crushing or chewing. Swallow the capsules whole. However, if you have trouble swallowing the capsules, ask your doctor or pharmacist about certain brands that may be opened up and the contents sprinkled onto a spoonful of cool, soft food such as applesauce or pudding. Swallow the food/medication mixture immediately without chewing. Do not prepare the mixture ahead of time. Drink a glass of cool water after each dose to make sure you swallow all the medication. Inform your doctor if symptoms of low potassium blood levels (e.g., muscle cramps/weakness, tiredness, irregular heartbeat) persist or worsen.
Your healthcare professionals (e.g., doctor or pharmacist) may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for it. Do not start, stop or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with them first. Before taking potassium supplements, check with your doctor if you are taking other medications/products that may also increase the potassium level in your blood. A potassium level in the blood that is too high may cause serious side effects. Follow your doctor's instructions carefully and continue medications for your condition as directed. Keep all medical/laboratory appointments so your doctor can monitor your potassium levels. Consult with your doctor if you are taking any of the following: ACE inhibitors (e.g., captopril, lisinopril), angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs such as candesartan, losartan), eplerenone, potassium-sparing "water pills" (diuretics such as amiloride, spironolactone, triamterene), salt substitutes containing potassium. Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and nonprescription/herbal products you may use, especially of: digoxin, drospirenone, "water pills" (diuretics such as furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide). Also tell your doctor or pharmacist if you take medications that may slow down the movement of potassium capsules/tablets in your digestive system, possibly increasing the risk of side effects. These drugs include: anticholinergic drugs (e.g., atropine, scopolamine), certain antihistamines (e.g., diphenhydramine), antispasmodic drugs (e.g., dicyclomine, hyoscyamine), certain anti-Parkinson's drugs (e.g., benztropine, trihexyphenidyl), belladonna alkaloids, bladder control drugs (e.g., oxybutynin, tolterodine). This document does not contain all possible interactions. Therefore, before using this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the products you use. Keep a list of all your medications with you, and share the list with your doctor and pharmacist.
Do not share this medication with others. Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., potassium blood level, kidney function tests) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details. Eat a well-balanced diet. Foods high in potassium include: bananas, oranges, watermelon, cantaloupe, raisins, dates, prunes, avocados, apricots, beans, broccoli, leafy green vegetables, spinach, potatoes, lentils, fish, chicken, turkey, ham, beef, and milk. Consult your doctor or pharmacist regarding your specific dietary plan.
If overdose is suspected, contact your local poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call the US national poison hotline at 1-800-222-1222. Canadian residents should call their local poison control center directly. Symptoms of overdose may include irregular heartbeat, muscle weakness, confusion, numbness/tingling of the hands/feet, chest pain.
Before taking potassium, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details. This medication should not be used if you have certain medical conditions. Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have: high potassium blood levels, severe kidney disease (e.g., chronic kidney failure, inability to make urine), adrenal gland problems, severe conditions of tissue breakdown (e.g., severe burns, traumatic injury). Due to rare reports of stomach/intestinal ulcers and bleeding with sustained-release potassium chloride products, the capsules/tablets should be used only in patients who cannot take liquid or effervescent potassium forms. Patients with blockage/narrowing/slowed movement of the esophagus/stomach/intestines (e.g., diabetic gastroparesis, esophageal compression due to an enlarged heart) are at greater risk for these side effects and should use liquid or effervescent potassium forms. Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: kidney problems, certain types of heart disease (e.g., atrioventricular block), stomach ulcers. Kidney function declines as you grow older. This medication is removed by the kidneys. Therefore, elderly people may be more sensitive to the effects of this drug. This medication should be used only when clearly needed during pregnancy. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. Potassium passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Store at room temperature between 59-86 degrees F (15-30 degrees C) away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medicines away from children and pets. Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company for more details about how to safely discard your product.
Stomach pain/upset, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea may occur. See How to Use for ways to reduce stomach upset. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly. For some capsule forms of this medication, an empty capsule shell may appear in your stool. This is harmless. Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects. Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: difficult/painful swallowing, feeling as if the capsule/tablet is stuck in your throat. Tell your doctor immediately if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: vomit that looks like coffee grounds, stomach/abdominal pain or swelling, black/tarry stools. A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction may include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing. This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist. In the US - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
This is a summary and does NOT have all possible information about this product. This information does not assure that this product is safe, effective, or appropriate for you. This information is not individual medical advice and does not substitute for the advice of your health care professional. Always ask your health care professional for complete information about this product and your specific health needs.
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