Medications in this class include:
- Potassium chloride tablets (Slow-K®, Euro-K® previously known as K-Dur®, Apo-K®, Micro-K®)
- Potassium chloride dissolvable powder (K-lyte®)
- Potassium chloride liquid
Why it’s important to take this medication:
Potassium has an important role in many functions of the body, such as maintaining a normal heart rhythm, building muscle and overall nutrition. Diuretics, or ‘water pills’, used in the treatment of heart failure can lower blood potassium levels. If the blood potassium level is too low, your health care provider may prescribe potassium supplements.
Action of potassium supplements:
- Potassium supplements come in a variety of different forms, such as tablets, liquid or powder.
- They are used to increase the blood potassium level.
- Maintaining a normal blood potassium level is important in preventing abnormal heart rhythms.
How this medication should be taken:
- Take the potassium supplement with a meal or right after a meal to prevent an upset stomach.
Most common side effects include:
- Upset stomach
Serious side effects may include:
- Sensation of an abnormal heart rhythm
- Legs that feel heavy and weak
- Unusual tingling, prickling, pulling or burning in your arms, hands, legs or feet
- Belly pain
What should I remember while taking this medication?
- While taking potassium supplements you may require regular blood tests to monitor your potassium level. Depending on the potassium level, your health care provider may change your dose of potassium supplement.
- Tell your health care provider or pharmacist of any prescription and non-prescription medications you are taking, including vitamins/minerals and herbal supplements.
- It may be recommended that you speak with dietician to discuss how often you eat foods that are good sources of potassium (such as spinach, bananas, and tomatoes).
- Tell your health care provider if you are taking salt substitutes as they may also contain potassium.
- If you develop any of the listed serious side effects, talk to your health care provider right away.
What should I do if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the dose you missed. Take the next dose at the regular time. Do not take 2 doses at the same time. If you are unsure of what to do, speak to your health care provider or pharmacist.