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Treatment of Overdosage
The administration of potassium salts to persons without predisposing conditions for hyperkalemia rarely causes serious hyperkalemia at recommended dosages. It is important to recognize that hyperkalemia is usually asymptomatic and may be manifested only by an increased serum potassium concentration and characteristic electrocardiographic changes (peaking of T-wave, loss of P-wave, depression of S-T segment and prolongation of the QT interval). Late manifestations include muscle paralysis and cardiovascular collapse from cardiac arrest.
Treatment measures for hyperkalemia include the following:
- Patients should be closely monitored for arrhythmias and electrolyte changes.
- Elimination of medications containing potassium and of agents with potassium sparing properties such as potassium-sparing diuretics, ARBs, ACE inhibitors, NSAIDs, certain nutritional supplements and many others.
- Elimination of foods containing high levels of potassium such as almonds, apricots, bananas, beans (lima, pinto, white), cantaloupe, carrot juice (canned), figs, grapefruit juice, halibut, milk, oat bran, potato (with skin), salmon, spinach, tuna and many others.
- Intravenous calcium gluconate if the patient is at no risk or low risk of developing digitalis toxicity.
- Intravenous administration of 300-500 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.
- Hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis.
- Exchange resins may be used. However, this measure alone is not sufficient for the acute treatment of hyperkalemia.
Lowering potassium levels too rapidly in patients taking digitalis can produce digitalis toxicity.
Urocit®-K (potassium citrate extended-release tablets) is contraindicated:
- In patients with hyperkalemia (or who have conditions pre-disposing them to hyperkalemia), as a further rise in serum potassium concentration may produce cardiac arrest. Such conditions include: chronic renal failure, uncontrolled diabetes mellitus, acute dehydration, strenuous physical exercise in unconditioned individuals, adrenal insufficiency, extensive tissue breakdown or the administration of a potassium-sparing agent (such as triamterene, spironolactone or amiloride).
- In patients in whom there is cause for arrest or delay in tablet passage through the gastrointestinal tract, such as those suffering from delayed gastric emptying, esophageal compression, intestinal obstruction or stricture, or those taking anticholinergic medication.
- In patients with peptic ulcer disease because of its ulcerogenic potential.
- In patients with renal insufficiency (glomerular filtration rate of less than 0.7 ml/kg/min), because of the danger of soft tissue calcification and increased risk for the development of hyperkalemia.
Last reviewed on RxList: 1/21/2010
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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