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All about: potassium bicarbonate

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Generic Name: potassium bicarbonate (poe tass EE um)
Brand Names: K+Care ET, K-Effervescent

What is potassium bicarbonate?

Potassium is a mineral that is found naturally in foods and is necessary for many normal functions of your body, especially the beating of your heart.

Potassium bicarbonate is used to prevent or to treat a potassium deficiency.

Potassium bicarbonate may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about potassium bicarbonate?

Take each dose with a full glass of water. Take potassium bicarbonate with food or milk to lessen stomach upset. Do not take salt substitutes or drink low-salt milk while taking potassium bicarbonate unless your doctor approves. Salt substitutes and low-salt milk usually contain potassium. You may get too much potassium and suffer from side effects if you use these products.

Who should not take potassium bicarbonate?

Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you

  • have kidney disease;
  • are taking a potassium-sparing diuretic such as triamterene (Dyrenium, Dyazide, Maxzide), spironolactone (Aldactone, Aldactazide), or amiloride (Midamor, Moduretic);

  • have Addison's disease;

  • have an ulcer or an intestinal blockage; or

  • have chronic diarrhea.

You may not be able to take potassium bicarbonate, or you may require a lower dose or special monitoring during treatment if you have any of the conditions listed above.

Potassium bicarbonate is in the FDA pregnancy category C. This means that it is not known whether potassium bicarbonate will harm an unborn baby. Do not take this medication without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant. It is also not known whether potassium passes into breast milk. As long as potassium levels in your body are within the normal range, this medication is not expected to harm a nursing infant. Talk to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I take potassium bicarbonate?

Take potassium bicarbonate exactly as directed by your doctor. If you do not understand these directions, ask your pharmacist, nurse, or doctor to explain them to you.

Take each dose with a full glass of water. Take potassium bicarbonate with food or milk to lessen stomach upset.

Mix the effervescent tablets with at least 4 ounces (one-half cup) of water. Mix it thoroughly and drink it immediately.

Store potassium bicarbonate at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember up to 2 hours late. If more than 2 hours have passed since the dose you missed, skip that dose and take only your next regularly scheduled dose. Do not take a double dose of this medication.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention.

Symptoms of a potassium bicarbonate overdose include paralysis; numbness or tingling in the hands, arms, legs, or feet; an irregular heartbeat; low blood pressure (dizziness, confusion, weakness, fatigue); seizures; coma; and heart attack.

What should I avoid while taking potassium bicarbonate?

Do not take salt substitutes or drink low-salt milk while taking potassium bicarbonate unless your doctor approves. Salt substitutes and low-salt milk usually contain potassium. You may get too much potassium and suffer from side effects if you use these products.

Do not stop taking this medication unless your doctor approves. Stopping could make your condition much worse.

Potassium bicarbonate side effects

If you experience any of the following serious side effects, stop taking potassium bicarbonate and seek emergency medical attention:
  • an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; or hives);

  • confusion;

  • an irregular heartbeat;

  • difficulty breathing;

  • unusual fatigue, weakness, or heavy legs;

  • abdominal pain or severe cramping; or

  • black, bloody, or tarry stools.

Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue to take potassium bicarbonate and talk to your doctor if you experience

  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal discomfort;

  • a rash;

  • slight tingling in the hands or feet; or

  • anxiety.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect potassium bicarbonate?

The following drugs may increase the effects of potassium bicarbonate:

  • angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors) such as benazepril (Lotensin) and captopril (Capoten);
  • other commonly used ACE inhibitors, including enalapril (Vasotec), fosinopril (Monopril), lisinopril (Zestril, Prinivil), moexipril (Univasc), quinapril (Accupril), and ramipril (Altace);
  • potassium-sparing diuretics such as triamterene (Dyrenium, Dyazide, Maxzide), spironolactone (Aldactone, Aldactazide), and amiloride (Midamor, Moduretic);

  • beta-blockers such as atenolol (Tenormin) and propranolol (Inderal); and
  • other commonly used beta-blockers, including acebutolol (Sectral), bisoprolol (Zebeta), carteolol (Cartrol), labetalol (Normodyne, Trandate), nadolol (Corgard), metoprolol (Lopressor), and pindolol (Visken).

Do not take any of the medicines listed above with potassium bicarbonate except under the supervision of your doctor.

Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following medicines:

  • the heart medicine digoxin (Lanoxin);

  • a diuretic (water pill) such as hydrochlorothiazide (Hydrodiuril, HCTZ, others), chlorothiazide (Diuril, others), metolazone (Zaroxolyn), indapamide (Lozol);

  • a steroid such as prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone, others), cortisone (Cortone), hydrocortisone (Cortef, Hydrocortone, others), dexamethasone (Decadron, Hexadrol); or

  • an anti-inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, others), naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), or ketoprofen (Orudis KT, Orudis, Oruvail).

Drugs other than those listed here may also interact with potassium bicarbonate or affect your condition. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has more information about potassium bicarbonate written for health professionals that you may read.

What does my medicine look like?

Potassium bicarbonate is available with a prescription under the brand name K+Care ET as effervescent tablets. Other brand or generic formulations may also be available. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about this medication, especially if it is new to you.

  • 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.
  • 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 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 3.06. Revision Date: 06/07/2007 9:13:23 AM.

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