Skip to content

    Heart Failure Health Center

    Font Size

    Heart Failure Treatment: Potassium and Magnesium

    Potassium and magnesium are often prescribed to heart patients taking diuretics, or ''water pills.'' They replace fluids you lose because of the water pills.

    Examples of potassium supplements include:

    Recommended Related to Heart Failure

    Understanding Heart Failure -- Diagnosis and Treatment

    Doctors diagnose heart failure by taking a medical history and conducting a physical exam and tests. During the medical history your doctor will want to know if: You have any other health problems such as diabetes, kidney disease, angina (chest pain), high blood pressure, or other heart problems You smoke You drink alcohol, and if so, how much You are taking medications. During the physical, the doctor will check your blood pressure, use a stethoscope to hear sounds associated with...

    Read the Understanding Heart Failure -- Diagnosis and Treatment article > >

    Magnesium supplements include:

    • Magnesium glycinate
    • Mag-Ox
    • Uro-Mag


    How Do I Take Potassium and Magnesium Supplements?

    Take potassium and magnesium supplements right after meals or with food. Follow the label on how often to take it. The number of doses you take each day, the time between doses, and how long you take it will depend on which medicines you were prescribed and your condition.

    What Are the Side Effects of Potassium and Magnesium Supplements?

    Possible side effects of potassium and magnesium supplements include:

    Nausea, vomiting , diarrhea , and abdominal discomfort. If these side effects continue, call your doctor. If you take controlled-release tablets or capsules and have severe vomiting, vomit blood, or have abdominal pain or swelling, stop taking the medication and call your doctor right away.

    Black, tarry, or bloody stools. These are signs of stomach bleeding. If you have them, call your doctor right away.

    You should also call your doctor if you have:

    • Confusion
    • Irregular or slow heartbeat
    • Numbness
    • Tingling in hands, feet, or lips
    • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
    • Anxiety
    • Unusual tiredness or weakness

    Should I Avoid Certain Foods or Drugs While Taking Potassium and Magnesium?

    If you are taking magnesium or potassium supplements, let your doctor know if:

    • You are using a salt substitute (many salt substitutes contain potassium).
    • You are using ACE inhibitors or certain diuretics.
    • You have a kidney disorder.
    • You are taking any other supplements.

    Other Guidelines for Taking Potassium and Magnesium

    While taking potassium or magnesium, have your blood pressure checked regularly as advised by your doctor.

    Keep all appointments with your doctor and the lab so that he can see how you're responding to the supplements.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Suzanne R. Steinbaum, MD on July 27, 2014

    Today on WebMD

    Compressed heart
    Salt Shockers
    Inside A Heart Attack
    lowering blood pressure

    Mechanical Heart
    Omega 3 Overview Slideshow
    Atrial Fibrillation Guide
    Simple Steps to Lower Cholesterol

    Compressed heart
    FAQ Heart Failure
    Cholesterol Confusion
    Health Check
    Resolved To Quit Smoking

    WebMD Special Sections