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The administration of oral potassium salts to persons with normal excretory mechanisms for potassium rarely causes serious hyperkalemia. However, if excretory mechanisms are impaired or intravenous administration is too rapid, potentially fatal hyperkalemia can result (see CONTRAINDICATIONS and WARNINGS). It is important to recognize that hyperkalemia is usually asymptomatic and may be manifested only by an increased serum potassium concentration (6.5-8.0 mEq/L) and characteristic electrocardiographic changes (peaking of T-waves, loss of P-waves, depression of S-T segments, and prolongation of the QT intervals). Late manifestations include muscle paralysis and cardiovascular collapse from cardiac arrest (9-12 mEq/L). Treatment measures for hyperkalemia include the following:
- Elimination of foods and medications containing potassium and of any agents with potassium-sparing properties;
- Intravenous administration of 300 to 500 ml/hr of 10% dextrose solution containing 10-20 units of crystalline insulin per 1,000 ml;
- Correction of acidosis, if present, with intravenous sodium bicarbonate;
- Use of exchange resins, hemodialysis, or peritoneal dialysis.
In treating hyperkalemia, it should be recalled that in patients who have been stabilized on digitalis, lowering the serum potassium concentration too rapidly can produce digitalis toxicity.
Potassium supplements are contraindicated in patients with hyperkalemia since a further increase in serum potassium concentration in such patients can produce cardiac arrest. Hyperkalemia may complicate any of the following conditions: chronic renal failure, systemic acidosis such as diabetic acidosis, acute dehydration, extensive tissue breakdown as in severe burns, adrenal insufficiency, or the administration of a potassium-sparing diuretic, e.g., spironolactone, triamterene, or amiloride (see OVERDOSAGE).
K-LOR (potassium chloride) (potassium chloride for oral solution) is contraindicated in patients with known hypersensitivity to any ingredient in this product.
Last reviewed on RxList: 6/28/2009
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Additional K-LOR Information
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