This medication is a mineral supplement used to treat or prevent low amounts of potassium in the blood. A normal level of potassium in the blood is important. Potassium helps your cells, kidneys, heart, muscles, and nerves work properly. Most people get enough potassium by eating a well-balanced diet. Some conditions that can lower your body's potassium level include severe prolonged diarrhea and vomiting, hormone problems such as hyperaldosteronism, or treatment with "water pills"/diuretics.
Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor. To prevent stomach upset, take each dose with a meal and a full glass of water (8 ounces/240 milliliters) unless your doctor directs you otherwise. Do not lie down for 10 minutes after taking this medication.
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. If you have trouble swallowing the capsules, tell your doctor or pharmacist. Some brands may be opened and the contents sprinkled onto a spoonful of cool, soft food such as applesauce or pudding. Immediately swallow the food/medication mixture 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. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions about your brand.
Take this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time(s) each day. The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. Do not increase your dose or take it more often than prescribed. Do not take more than 20 milliequivalents per dose.
An empty tablet or capsule shell may appear in your stool. This effect is harmless because your body has already absorbed the medication.
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 right away if you have any serious side effects, including: difficult/painful swallowing, feeling as if the capsule/tablet is stuck in your throat.
Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including: vomit that looks like coffee grounds, stomach/abdominal pain, black/tarry stools.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
In the US -
Before taking potassium, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: heart problems, kidney problems, high levels of potassium in the blood.
Due to rare reports of stomach/intestinal ulcers and bleeding with sustained-release potassium products, taking a liquid form of potassium is preferred. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have throat/stomach/intestinal problems such as blockage, narrowing, or ulcers.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
Before using other potassium supplements or salt substitutes that contain potassium, consult your doctor or pharmacist. Too much potassium may cause serious side effects. (See also Overdose section.)
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are regularly taking other drugs/products that can also raise your potassium level. Examples include eplerenone, ACE inhibitors such as enalapril/lisinopril, angiotensin receptor blockers such as losartan/valsartan, potassium-sparing "water pills"/diuretics such as spironolactone/triamterene, birth control pills that contain drospirenone, among others.
Also, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you take medications that can slow down the movement of potassium in your stomach or intestines, possibly increasing the risk of side effects (such as ulcers). Examples include atropine, scopolamine, some antihistamines such as diphenhydramine, antispasmodic drugs such as dicyclomine/hyoscyamine, bladder control drugs such as oxybutynin/tolterodine, certain drugs for Parkinson's disease such as benztropine/trihexyphenidyl, among others.
If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include irregular heartbeat, muscle weakness, confusion.
Do not share this medication with others.
Laboratory and/or medical tests (such as 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, cantaloupe, raisins, dates, prunes, avocados, apricots, beans, broccoli, spinach, potatoes, lentils, chicken, turkey, beef, and yogurt. Consult your doctor or dietician for recommended foods.
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.
Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications 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.
Information last revised March 2013. Copyright(c) 2013 First Databank, Inc.
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