Excipient information presented when available (limited, particularly for generics); consult specific product labeling. [DSC] = Discontinued product
Generic: 2 mEq/mL (20 mL, 50 mL, 100 mL [DSC]); 4 mEq/mL (50 mL [DSC])
Mechanism of Action
Potassium is the major cation of intracellular fluid and is essential for the conduction of nerve impulses in heart, brain, and skeletal muscle; contraction of cardiac, skeletal and smooth muscles; maintenance of normal renal function, acid-base balance, carbohydrate metabolism, and gastric secretion
Enters cells via active transport from extracellular fluid
Primarily urine; skin and feces (small amounts); most intestinal potassium reabsorbed
Use: Labeled Indications
Hypokalemia: Treatment and prevention of hypokalemia when it is necessary to avoid chloride or acid/base status requires an additional source of bicarbonate.
Severe renal impairment or adrenal insufficiency; hyperkalemia
Dosage and Administration
Note: When maintaining normal daily requirements, IV doses should be incorporated into the patient's maintenance IV fluids. Intermittent IV potassium administration should be reserved for more severe depletion situations in patients undergoing ECG monitoring. Doses expressed as mEq of potassium.
Hypokalemia, treatment: IV intermittent infusion: Peripheral or central line: ≤10 mEq/hour; repeat as needed based on frequently obtained lab values; central line infusion and continuous ECG monitoring highly recommended for infusions >10 mEq/hour
Potassium dosage/rate of infusion general guidelines (per product labeling): Note: High variability exists in dosing/infusion rate recommendations; therapy guided by patient condition and specific institutional guidelines. As an estimate, 10 mEq of potassium will roughly increase serum levels by 0.1 mEq/L. Patients with more severe forms of hypokalemia (eg, serum potassium levels <3.5 mEq/L) may require increased amounts due to total body potassium deficit (Flurie 2017).
Serum potassium >2.5 to 3.5 mEq/L: Maximum infusion rate: 10 mEq/hour; maximum concentration: 40 mEq/L; maximum 24-hour dose: 200 mEq
Serum potassium <2.5 mEq/L or symptomatic hypokalemia (excluding emergency treatment of cardiac arrest): Maximum infusion rate (central line only): 40 mEq/hour in presence of continuous ECG monitoring and frequent lab monitoring; in selected situations, patients may require up to 400 mEq/24 hours.
Refer to adult dosing.
Note: Maintenance potassium should be incorporated into the patient's maintenance IV fluids; intermittent IV potassium administration should be reserved for severe depletion situations; continuous ECG monitoring should be used for intermittent doses >0.5 mEq/kg/hour. Acid/base balance should be considered when selecting a potassium salt for maintenance therapy or treatment of hypokalemia; acetate is converted to bicarbonate in the body and may affect serum pH. Doses listed as mEq of potassium.
Parenteral nutrition, maintenance potassium requirement (ASPEN [Mirtallo 2004]):
Infants and Children weighing ≤50 kg: IV: 2 to 4 mEq/kg/day of potassium as an additive to parenteral nutrition solution.
Children weighing >50 kg and Adolescents: IV: 1 to 2 mEq/kg/day of potassium as an additive to parenteral nutrition solution.
Hypokalemia, severe; treatment: Infants, Children, and Adolescents: Intermittent IV infusion: 0.5 to 1 mEq/kg/dose; maximum dose: 40 mEq/dose, infuse at a rate ≤0.5 mEq/kg/hour (see Administration for more detail on rate) (Corkins 2015; Fuhrman 2017; Kliegman 2016); serum concentrations should be evaluated 1 to 2 hours after completion of infusion; may repeat as needed based on lab values; severe depletion or ongoing losses may require >200% of normal daily maintenance.
Parenteral: Potassium must be diluted prior to parenteral administration. The concentration of infusion may be dependent on patient condition and specific institution policy. Some clinicians recommend that the maximum concentration for peripheral infusion is 10 mEq/100 mL and 20-40 mEq/100 mL for central infusions.
Parenteral: Potassium must be diluted prior to parenteral administration. For IV infusion; do not administer IV push. In general, the rate of administration may be dependent on patient condition and specific institution policy. Some clinicians recommend that the maximum concentration for peripheral infusion is 10 mEq/100 mL and maximum rate of administration for peripheral infusion is 10 mEq/hour (Kraft 2005). ECG monitoring is recommended for peripheral or central infusions >10 mEq/hour (Kraft 2005). With central line administration, higher concentrations and more rapid rates of infusion may be used; concentrations of 20 to 40 mEq/100 mL at a maximum rate of 40 mEq/hour via central line have been safely administered (Hamill 1991; Kruse 1990).
Vesicant/irritant (at concentrations >0.1 mEq/mL); ensure proper needle or catheter placement prior to and during IV infusion. Avoid extravasation.
Extravasation management: If extravasation occurs, stop infusion immediately and disconnect (leave needle/cannula in place); gently aspirate extravasated solution (do NOT flush the line); initiate hyaluronidase antidote; remove needle/cannula; apply dry cold compresses (Hurst 2004; Reynolds 2014); elevate extremity.
Hyaluronidase: Intradermal or SubQ: Inject a total of 1 to 1.7 mL (15 units/mL) as five separate 0.2 to 0.3 mL injections (using a 25-gauge needle) into area of extravasation at the leading edge in a clockwise manner (MacCara 1983; Reynolds 2014; Zenk 1981)
Store at room temperature; do not freeze.
Aliskiren: Potassium Salts may enhance the hyperkalemic effect of Aliskiren. Monitor therapy
Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers: Potassium Salts may enhance the hyperkalemic effect of Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers. Monitor therapy
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors: Potassium Salts may enhance the hyperkalemic effect of Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors. Monitor therapy
Drospirenone: Potassium Salts may enhance the hyperkalemic effect of Drospirenone. Monitor therapy
Eplerenone: May enhance the hyperkalemic effect of Potassium Salts. Management: This combination is contraindicated in patients receiving eplerenone for treatment of hypertension. Consider therapy modification
Heparin: May enhance the hyperkalemic effect of Potassium Salts. Monitor therapy
Heparins (Low Molecular Weight): May enhance the hyperkalemic effect of Potassium Salts. Monitor therapy
Nicorandil: May enhance the hyperkalemic effect of Potassium Salts. Monitor therapy
Potassium-Sparing Diuretics: Potassium Salts may enhance the hyperkalemic effect of Potassium-Sparing Diuretics. Consider therapy modification
Frequency not defined.
Cardiovascular: Cardiac arrhythmia, heart block, hypotension, paralysis, paresthesia
Central nervous system: Abnormal electroencephalogram, confusion, lethargy
Local: Local tissue necrosis (with extravasation)
Neuromuscular & skeletal: Weakness
Concerns related to adverse effects:
- Extravasation: Vesicant/irritant (at concentrations >0.1 mEq/mL); ensure proper catheter or needle position prior to and during infusion. Avoid extravasation.
- Hyperkalemia: Close monitoring of serum potassium concentrations is needed to avoid hyperkalemia; severe hyperkalemia may lead to muscle weakness/paralysis and cardiac conduction abnormalities (eg, heart block, ventricular arrhythmias, asystole).
- Acid/base disorders: Use with caution in patients with acid/base alterations; changes in serum potassium concentrations can occur during acid/base correction, monitor closely. In patients with metabolic or respiratory alkalosis, use with caution since use of potassium acetate may worsen alkalosis depending on the amount administered (Khanna 2006).
- Cardiovascular disease: Use with caution in patients with cardiovascular disease (eg, heart failure, cardiac arrhythmias); patients may be more susceptible to life-threatening cardiac effects associated with hyper/hypokalemia.
- Potassium-altering conditions/disorders: Use with caution in patients with disorders or conditions likely to contribute to altered serum potassium and hyperkalemia (eg, untreated Addison's disease, heat cramps, severe tissue breakdown from trauma or burns).
- Renal impairment: Use with caution in patients with renal impairment; monitor serum potassium concentrations closely. Contraindicated with severe impairment.
Concurrent drug therapy issues:
- Digitalis: Use with caution in digitalized patients; may be more susceptible to potentially life-threatening cardiac effects with rapid changes in serum potassium concentrations.
- Potassium-altering therapies: Use with caution in patients receiving concomitant medications or therapies that increase potassium (eg, ACEIs, potassium-sparing diuretics, potassium containing salt substitutes).
Dosage form specific issues:
- Aluminum: The parenteral product may contain aluminum; toxic aluminum concentrations may be seen with high doses, prolonged use, or renal dysfunction. Premature neonates are at higher risk due to immature renal function and aluminum intake from other parenteral sources. Parenteral aluminum exposure of >4 to 5 mcg/kg/day is associated with CNS and bone toxicity; tissue loading may occur at lower doses (Federal Register, 2002). See manufacturer's labeling.
- Parenteral administration: Use extreme caution with parenteral administration and monitor serum potassium concentrations closely. Evaluate renal function, cardiac and fluid status, and any factors contributing to altered potassium concentrations (eg, acidosis, alkalosis) prior to therapy. Do NOT administer undiluted or IV push; inappropriate parenteral administration may be fatal. Always administer potassium further diluted; refer to appropriate dilution and administration rate recommendations. Pain and phlebitis may occur during parenteral infusion requiring a decrease in infusion rate or potassium concentration.
Electrolytes (including serum potassium, bicarbonate, and magnesium), acid/base status; cardiac monitor (if intermittent infusion or potassium infusion rates 0.5 mEq/kg/hour in children or >10 mEq/hour in adults); to assess adequate replacement, repeat serum potassium level 2 to 4 hours after dose. Monitor IV infusion site for extravasation.
Animal reproduction studies have not been conducted. Potassium requirements are the same in pregnant and nonpregnant women. Adverse events have not been observed following use of potassium supplements in healthy women with normal pregnancies. Use caution in pregnant women with other medical conditions (eg, pre-eclampsia; may be more likely to develop hyperkalemia) (IOM 2004).
What is this drug used for?
- It is used to treat or prevent low potassium levels.
Other side effects of this drug: Talk with your doctor right away if you have any of these signs of:
- High potassium like abnormal heartbeat, confusion, dizziness, passing out, weakness, shortness of breath, numbness or tingling feeling
- Trouble moving
- Signs of a significant reaction like wheezing; chest tightness; fever; itching; bad cough; blue skin color; seizures; or swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Note: This is not a comprehensive list of all side effects. Talk to your doctor if you have questions.
Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. You must talk with the healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.