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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 at least 10 minutes after taking this medication.
Do not crush, chew, or suck on the tablets. Doing so can release all of the drug at once, increasing the risk of side effects.
If you have trouble swallowing the tablets, you may break the tablet in half and take one half with a glass of water; then take the other half tablet with another glass of water. Another choice is to dissolve the tablet in a half glass of water (4 ounces/120 milliliters) before taking it. After the tablet dissolves (about 2 minutes), stir the mixture for 30 seconds then drink all the liquid. Add one more ounce (30 milliliters) of water to the glass, swirl, and drink. Repeat one more time to make sure you are getting all of the drug. Use only water for mixing, and do not prepare the mixture ahead of time. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
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.
Tell your doctor if your condition does not improve or if you have symptoms of low potassium in the blood (such as irregular heartbeat, muscle weakness/cramps).
Upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, gas, or diarrhea may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
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 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.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
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.
Potassium passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
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.
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 someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. 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.
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. Take your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up.
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.
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