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All about: Potassium chloride

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Generic name: Potassium chloride
Brand names: Slow-K, Kaon-CL, K-Dur, K-Tab, Klor-Con, Micro-K

Why is Potassium chloride prescribed?

Micro-K is used to treat or prevent low potassium levels in people who may face potassium loss caused by digitalis (Lanoxin), non-potassium-sparing diuretics (such as Diuril and Dyazide), and certain diseases.

Potassium plays an essential role in the proper functioning of a wide range of systems in the body, including the kidneys, muscles, and nerves. As a result, a potassium deficiency may have a wide range of effects, including dry mouth, thirst, reduced urination, weakness, fatigue, drowsiness, low blood pressure, restlessness, muscle cramps, abnormal heart rate, nausea, and vomiting.

Micro-K and the other products discussed here are slow-release potassium formulations.

Most important fact about Potassium chloride

There have been reports of intestinal and gastric ulcers and bleeding associated with use of slow-release potassium chloride medications. Micro-K should be used only by people who cannot take potassium chloride in liquid or effervescent forms.

Do not change from one brand of potassium chloride to another without consulting your doctor or pharmacist.

How should you take Potassium chloride?

Take Micro-K with meals and with a full glass of water or some other liquid.

Tell your doctor if you have difficulty swallowing Micro-K. You may sprinkle the contents of the capsule onto a spoonful of soft food. Capsules and tablets should not be crushed, chewed, or sucked.

--If you miss a dose...

If it is within 2 hours of the scheduled time, take it as soon as you remember. If you do not remember until later, skip the dose you missed and go back to your regular schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

--Storage instructions...

Store at room temperature in a tightly closed container.

What side effects may occur?

Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Micro-K.

  • More common side effects may include:
    Abdominal pain or discomfort, diarrhea, gas, nausea, stomach and intestinal ulcers and bleeding, blockage, or perforation, vomiting

Why should Potassium chloride not be prescribed?

You should not be using Micro-K in a solid form if you are taking any drug or have any condition that could stop or slow Micro-K as it goes through the gastrointestinal tract.

If you have high potassium levels, you should not use Micro-K.

You should not use these products if you are allergic to any of their ingredients.

People with certain heart conditions should not use slow-release forms of potassium.

Special warnings about Potassium chloride

Before taking Micro-K, tell your doctor if you have ever had acute dehydration, heat cramps, adrenal insufficiency, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, ulcers, or severe burns.

Tell your doctor immediately if you notice that your stools are black or tarry.

Possible food and drug interactions when taking Potassium chloride

If Micro-K is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is important to check with your doctor before combining Micro-K with the following:

Antispasmodic drugs such as Bentyl
Blood pressure medications classified as ACE inhibitors, such as Vasotec and Capoten
Digitalis (Lanoxin)
Potassium-sparing diuretics such as Midamor and Aldactone

Also tell your doctor if you use salt substitutes.

Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Micro-K is generally considered safe for pregnant women or women who breastfeed their babies.

Recommended dosage

Dosages must be adjusted for each individual. Safety and effectiveness in children have not been established. The following are typical dosages for Micro-K and other leading slow-release potassium supplements.

TO TREAT LOW POTASSIUM LEVELS

Micro-K, Klor-Con 8, Slow-K

The usual dosage is 5 to 12 tablets or capsules per day.

Micro-K 10, Klor-Con 10, Klor-Con M10, K-Dur 10, K-Tab, Kaon-CL 10

The usual dose is 4 to 10 tablets or capsules per day.

K-Dur 20, Klor-Con M15, Klor-Con M20

The usual dose is 2 to 5 tablets per day.

TO PREVENT LOW POTASSIUM LEVELS

Micro-K, Klor-Con 8, Slow-K, Kaon-CL 10

The usual dosage is 2 or 3 tablets or capsules per day.

K-Tab, Micro-K 10, K-Dur 10, Klor-Con 10, Klor-Con M10

The usual dose is 2 tablets or capsules per day.

K-Dur 20, Klor-Con M15, Klor-Con M20

The usual dose is 1 tablet per day.

If you are taking more than 2 tablets or capsules per day, your total daily dose will be divided into smaller doses.

Overdosage

Any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. Overdoses of these supplements can result in potentially fatal levels of potassium. Overdose symptoms may not be noticeable in their early stages. Therefore, if you have any reason to suspect an overdose, seek medical help immediately.

  • Symptoms of potassium overdose may include:
    Blood in stools, cardiac arrest, irregular heartbeat, muscle paralysis, muscle weakness

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