IDENTIFICATION AND USE: Potassium is a mineral that is found in many foods and is needed for several functions of your body, especially the beating of your heart.

Potassium chloride 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.

HUMAN EXPOSURE/TOXICITY: you should not use potassium chloride if you are allergic to it, or if you have certain conditions. Be sure your doctor knows if you have:

  • high levels of potassium in your blood (hyperkalemia)
  • kidney failure
  • Addison’s disease (an adrenal gland disorder)
  • a large tissue injury such as a severe burn
  • severely dehydrated
  • taking a “potassium-sparing” diuretic (water pill) such as amiloride (Midamor, Moduretic), spironolactone (Aldactone, Aldactazide), triamterene (Dyrenium, Dyazide, Maxzide)

To make sure you can safely take potassium chloride, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • kidney disease
  • heart disease or high blood pressure
  • a blockage in your stomach or intestines
  • chronic diarrhea (such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease)

It is not known whether potassium chloride will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication. It is not known whether potassium chloride passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

ADVERSE EFFECTS: uneven heartbeat, muscle weakness or limp feeling, severe stomach pain, and numbness or tingling in your hands, feet, or mouth.

COMMON SIDE EFFECTS: diarrhea, gas, nausea, stomach discomfort, and vomiting.

SEVERE SIDE EFFECTS: severe allergic reactions (rash, hives, itching, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue), black, tarry stools, chest pain, irregular heartbeat, listlessness, numbness or tingling in your skin, lips, hands, or feet, severe nausea or vomiting, stomach pain or swelling, unusual confusion or anxiety, unusual muscle weakness or paralysis, vomit that looks like coffee grounds, weak or heavy legs.