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Potassium Gluconate

Generic name: potassium gluconate systemic

Brand names: Kaon

Dosage Forms

Excipient information presented when available (limited, particularly for generics); consult specific product labeling.

Capsule, Oral [preservative free]:

K-99: 595 mg [dye free, sugar free, yeast free]

Tablet, Oral:

Generic: 2 mEq, 2.5 mEq

Tablet, Oral [strength expressed as base]:

Generic: 80 mg


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



Well absorbed from upper GI tract


Enters cells via active transport from extracellular fluid


Primarily urine; skin and feces (small amounts); most intestinal potassium reabsorbed

Use: Labeled Indications

Dietary supplement: Dietary potassium supplement



Dosage and Administration

Dosing: Adult

Dietary supplement: Oral: One capsule/tablet daily

Dosing: Geriatric

Refer to adult dosing.

Dosing: Pediatric

Note: Doses listed as mEq of potassium (approximately 4.3 mEq potassium/g potassium gluconate; 1 mEq potassium is equivalent to 39 mg elemental potassium). Product is only available in solid dosage forms; only use in patients able to swallow whole tablets.

Normal daily requirement: Limited data available: Children and Adolescents: Oral: 1 to 2 mEq/kg/day (Kliegman 2016)

Hypokalemia, prevention for ongoing drug losses (eg, concurrent diuretic therapy): Limited data available: Children and Adolescents: Oral: 1 to 2 mEq/kg/day in 1 to 2 divided doses; should not exceed usual adult single dose: 20 mEq/dose; some patients may require a single dose up to 40 mEq/dose (Moffett 2011); some patients may require higher individual daily doses based on lab values and ongoing losses; dosing based on experience using KCl salt for potassium replacement.

Hypokalemia, treatment; mild to moderate: Limited data available: Children and Adolescents: Oral: 2 to 5 mEq/kg/day in divided doses; not to exceed 1 to 2 mEq/kg as a single dose or 20 mEq (whichever is less) (Corkins 2015; Moffett 2011); if deficits are severe or ongoing losses are great, IV potassium should be considered the preferred route of administration


Administer with a meal.


Store at room temperature.

Drug Interactions

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

Test Interactions

Decreased ammonia (B)


Concerns related to adverse effects:

  • GI effects: May cause GI upset (eg, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, discomfort) and lead to GI ulceration, bleeding, perforation and/or obstruction. Oral liquid preparations (not solid) should be used in patients with esophageal compression or delayed gastric emptying.
  • 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).

Disease-related concerns:

  • 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.
  • 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, ACEI, potassium-sparing diuretics, potassium containing salt substitutes).

Monitoring Parameters

Serum potassium and magnesium (to facilitate potassium repletion)


Pregnancy Considerations

Potassium requirements are the same in pregnant and non-pregnant 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, preeclampsia; may be more likely to develop hyperkalemia) (IOM 2004).

Patient Education

  • Discuss specific use of drug and side effects with patient as it relates to treatment. (HCAHPS: During this hospital stay, were you given any medicine that you had not taken before? Before giving you any new medicine, how often did hospital staff tell you what the medicine was for? How often did hospital staff describe possible side effects in a way you could understand?)
  • Patient may experience diarrhea. Have patient report immediately to prescriber signs of high potassium (abnormal heartbeat, confusion, dizziness, passing out, weakness, shortness of breath, numbness or tingling feeling), severe constipation, abdominal edema, severe nausea, severe vomiting, severe abdominal pain, black, tarry, or bloody stools, or vomiting blood (HCAHPS).
  • Educate patient about signs of a significant reaction (eg, 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. Patient should consult prescriber for additional questions.

Intended Use and Disclaimer: Should not be printed and given to patients. This information is intended to serve as a concise initial reference for health care professionals to use when discussing medications with a patient. You must ultimately rely on your own discretion, experience, and judgment in diagnosing, treating, and advising patients.

Source: Wolters Kluwer Health. Last updated August 6, 2019.