Generic name: potassium chloride [ poe-TASS-ee-um ]
Drug class: Minerals and electrolytes
What is K-Dur?
K-Dur tablets contain potassium chloride , a mineral that is found in many foods and is needed for several functions of your body, especially the beating of your heart.
K-Dur is used to prevent or to treat low blood levels of potassium (hypokalemia) . Potassium levels can be low as a result of a disease or from taking certain medicines, or after a prolonged illness with diarrhea or vomiting.
K-Dur may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
You should not use K-Dur if you have high levels of potassium in your blood (hyperkalemia), or if you also take a “potassium-sparing” diuretic.
To be sure K-Dur is helping your condition, your blood may need to be tested often. Your heart rate may also be checked using an electrocardiograph or ECG (sometimes called an EKG) to measure electrical activity of the heart. This test will help your doctor determine how long to treat you with K-dur. Do not miss any scheduled appointments.
Serious side effects of potassium include uneven heartbeat, muscle weakness or limp feeling, severe stomach pain, and numbness or tingling in your hands, feet, or mouth.
Do not stop taking this medicine without first talking to your doctor. If you stop taking K-Dur suddenly, your condition may become worse.
Do not crush, chew, break, or suck on an extended-release K-Dur tablet. Sucking on a K=Dur tablet can irritate your mouth or throat. Take K-Dur with food or just after a meal.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use K-Dur if you are allergic to potassium chloride, or if:
- you have high levels of potassium in your blood (hyperkalemia); or
- you take a “potassium-sparing” diuretic (water pill) such as amiloride, spironolactone, or triamterene.
To make sure K-Dur is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:
- kidney disease;
- cirrhosis or other liver disease;
- an adrenal gland disorder;
- a large tissue injury such as a severe burn;
- severe dehydration;
- heart disease or high blood pressure;
- stomach or intestinal bleeding;
- a blockage in your stomach or intestines; or
- chronic diarrhea (such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease).
It is not known whether K-Dur will harm an unborn baby. Your dose needs may be different during pregnancy. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
It is not known whether potassium chloride passes into breast milk or if it could affect the nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. Your dose needs may be different while you are nursing.
How should I take K-Dur?
Take K-Dur exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose.
Take K-Dur with a full glass of water. Take the medicine with food or just after a meal.
Do not crush, chew, or suck a K-Dur tablet. Sucking on the tablet will irritate your mouth or throat.
If you are having difficulty swallowing the K-Dur tablet, you can dissolve the tablet in water.
- Place the tablet in approximately half glass of water (4 fluid ounces).
- Allow approximately 2 minutes for the tablet to disintegrate.
- Stir for about half a minute after the tablet has disintegrated.
- Swirl the suspension and consume the entire contents of the glass immediately by drinking or by the use of a straw.
- Add another 1 fluid ounce of water, swirl, and consume immediately.
- Then, add an additional 1 fluid ounce of water, swirl, and consume immediately.
To be sure K-Dur is helping your condition, you may need frequent blood tests. You may not notice any change in your symptoms, but your blood work will help your doctor determine how long to treat you with K-Dur. Your heart function may need to be checked using an electrocardiograph or ECG (sometimes called an EKG). Even if you have no symptoms, tests can help your doctor determine if this medicine is effective.
Your treatment may include a special diet. Follow the diet plan created for you by your doctor or nutrition counselor. Get familiar with the list of foods you should eat or avoid to help control your condition.
Potassium-rich foods include: squash, baked potatoes (skin on), spinach, lentils, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, zucchini, kidney or navy beans, raisins, watermelon, orange juice, bananas, cantaloupe, and low-fat milk or yogurt. Consume only the daily amounts recommended by your doctor or nutrition counselor.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep the medication in a closed container.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
Overdose symptoms may include irregular heartbeats, chest pain, or muscle weakness.
What to avoid
Do not use potassium supplements or other products that contain potassium, unless your doctor has told you to. Salt substitutes or low-salt foods often contain potassium. Read the label of any food or medicine to see if it contains potassium.
K-Dur side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to K-Dur: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Stop using K-Dur and call your doctor at once if you have:
- severe throat irritation;
- stomach bloating, severe vomiting, severe stomach pain;
- high potassium levels – nausea, weakness, tingly feeling, chest pain, irregular heartbeats, loss of movement; or
- signs of stomach bleeding – bloody or tarry stools, coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds.
Common K-Dur side effects may include:
- nausea, vomiting, diarrhea;
- gas, stomach pain; or
- the appearance of a K-Dur tablet in your stool.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
K-Dur side effects (more detail)
Usual Adult Dose for Hypokalemia:
40 to 100 mEq per day, orally, in 2 to 5 divided doses
Maximum single dose: 20 mEq per dose
Maximum daily dose: 200 mEq
The usual adult dietary intake is 50 to 100 mEq potassium per day.
-Potassium depletion sufficient to cause hypokalemia usually requires the loss of 200 mEq or more of the total body stores of potassium.
Usual Adult Dose for Prevention of Hypokalemia:
Typical dose: 20 mEq, orally, daily
-Individualize dose based on serum potassium levels
-Divide dose if more than 20 mEq per day is used
-The usual adult dietary intake is 50 to 100 mEq potassium per day.
Detailed K-Dur dosage information
What other drugs will affect K-Dur?
Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:
- a diuretic or “water pill”; or
- heart or blood pressure medication.
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with potassium chloride, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.
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