Among the many types of minerals your body needs, potassium plays a vital role. This mineral can be sourced from legumes, fruits, vegetables as well as a few types of nuts. These natural resources come with needful amount of fiber content; this combination helps slowdown the absorption of this unique mineral. An imbalance of potassium can cause kidney stones. Medications are available to treat such stone formation. A widely used medicine is potassium citrate. It is also used for treating deficiencies of potassium. But, what are the safe dosage levels of this med and what are the likely risks of drug interactions? You are advised to know more on these fronts before starting your treatment.

People seek medial support – often, on an urgent mode – when they stones are formed in kidneys. Stone formation in kidneys is not an uncommon condition. Studies indicate that 10% of adults are likely to experience formation of stones at some point in time. Not drinking ample quantity of water is often cited as a key cause; also, factors such as high blood pressure, a sedentary lifestyle, being obese, etc. are few of the other causes.

These stones are made of hardened chemicals. Of the four distinctive types of stones known to medical sciences, calcium oxalate and uric acid are more common to show up. The other rare forms of stones include cystine and struvite. Of these, calcium oxalate based stones may form if there is a deficiency of calcium. Not drinking needful amount of water can make oxalate in your urine to blend with calcium; the result is calcium oxalate stones. On the other hand, stones made of uric acid form when you take too much of jellyfish or organ meat. These foods have purine and may soon turn into monosodium-urate and further form as stones of uric acid.

Of the uncommon types, struvite shows up when you have infectious conditions, especially in the urinary tract. The good thing is – smaller sized kidney stones may get removed as waste as you pass urine. When these stones exit from your system, they seldom cause any pain, and you may not even notice them being discharged. This is mainly due to their exceedingly small size and mass. In some cases, people may have fairly big stones – such as those sized like a small sized ball; they may cause a substantial amount of pain. These pains can only get worsened over a period of time, as they do not let your urinary bladder to get emptied in full.

The signs of stone formation in kidneys are often distinct in nature. Typical signs may show up as fever or an acute increase in body temperature, abdominal conditions such as nausea, vomiting or indigestion as well as an acute / sharp pain in the lower back region. People who live with such stones may also discharge urine that has a foul smell (because of a residue that gets stored up inside the bladder), or a cloudy discharge of urine. Medications such are potassium citrate are widely used for the treatment of kidney stones.

Use of potassium citrate and its dosage levels

Potassium citrate is administered for treating kidney stones as well as for correcting an imbalance of potassium in your system. This condition is known as hyperkalemia. The dosage level varies based on the intensity of your medical condition. In case of high level of severity, a dose of 60 mEq is administered through the oral route each day. This dose is divided as two (as 30 mEq per dose) or three doses (20 mEq each) within a 24-hour timeline.

Potassium citrate is not an over the counter drug, and hence needs to be consumed according to your treating physician’s advice. Also, no two people with kidney stones may have the same dosage plan. Your treatment and dosages depend on your age, weight and prior ailments, if any. Also, how well your system accepts the first 7 doses of this drug influences your treatment plan. You are advised to take each of the doses (20 mEq or 30 mEq) along with food. If you have forgotten to take it with a meal, then care to have it within 30 minutes of consuming food. Never take foods that are rich in salts or deeply fried food products while taking this treatment. It is hence a safe practice to steer clear of highly processed and salty snacks or tinned, pre-packed / preserved food products.

Your caregiving team may monitor the citrate level in urine over a 24-hour timeline. This process helps understand the adequacy of your dosage plan i.e., strength of doses of potassium citrate. Doses are modified based on the pH level of your urine. Your caregiving team will aim to maintain urinary pH level in between 6.5 to 6.9. Along with these dosages, you are advised to take more amounts of water and refrain from taking excessive level of salt.

Risks of drug interactions

These dosages are not administered onto those living with a sizable presence of potassium in the system. This med may interact adversely with potassium-sparing drugs such as spironolactone, triamterene, etc. as well as with diuretic drugs or water pills. It becomes important to compile a list of all the drugs that you are currently taking. As you compile this listing, ensure to include over the counter (OTC) drugs, meds you take as per doctors’ prescriptions, supplements of proteins, minerals and / or vitamins, dietary aids, etc. It is not safe to co-administer drugs this med with those used for treating depression, mood swings or hallucinations, as well as along with bronchodilators like levalbuterol and albuterol.

Also, people who have had prior spells of hypersensitivity or allergies to the key chemicals used in potassium citrate should inform their caregiver of such instances. Moreover, if you are witnessing internal bruises, ulcer formation and / or bleeding, indigestion or dyspepsia combined with vomiting, your caregiver must be made aware of all such problems. Loss of fluids can be more rapid in those who are having non-stop spells of loose / watery stools and vomiting; in such cases, timely provision of fluids – such as water – can help arrest near-fatal outcomes.

Other good practices

Potassium citrate may cause stomach upsets; owing to such a risk, it is a good practice to consume it with a meal. Also, it becomes essential to stay upright (and not go to a sleeping posture or lying down position) soon after taking this med with food. You may however shift to a sleeping position after 30 minutes or more. Never take this drug if you have recently had a heart attack or cardiac failure and if the acid levels in your system fare at a high level. You are advised to know that internal wounds and ulcers may get worsened when you take this med; so, if you are living with colitis, internal swelling or inflammation (or any other form of autoimmune conditions), your treating doctor must have a thorough knowledge of all your pre-existing medical conditions.

This med is not given to children as well as teens who are aged below 18 years. If your teenager is down with potassium deficiencies or related problems, talk to a child specialist (a pediatrician) to understand the underlying conditions. Your child’s doctor will prescribe a safer treatment approach which is well suited to your child’s age and severity of the condition. As a precautionary measure, this drug is not offered to women who are pregnant. Those who are planning to get pregnant must talk to their doctor and start using birth control techniques. While choosing a contraceptive, you are advised to use a non-hormonal variant such as a vaginal ring or a skin patch. Last but not least, women who are breastfeeding a newly born baby should talk to their doctor of the likely risks of side effects / withdrawal symptoms. The key ingredients of this drug may pass into mother’s milk. Babies who consume such milk may cry more often, have feeding problems and may not sleep very well. Hence, nursing women are recommended to talk to your doctor for safer alternatives to this med.

In general, if you are witnessing a faster pulse rate, abnormal heartbeat and are sweating profusely, seek timely clinical support from a hospital. People who are residing in US must call 911 or seek assistance from helpdesk run by the food and drug administration (FDA). Whichever of the two options you choose to seek, it is highly recommended to take such help on an emergency basis. People who are living in Canada must contact Health Canada in a faster manner. You may also contact a poison control center that is operating nearer to your home in Canada.

In sum, potassium citrate is widely used for the treatment of kidney stones. As an allied use, it is also used for correcting imbalances of potassium. The typical dosage level – for treating kidney stones – varies from 30 mEq to 60 mEq within a 24-hour timeline. Dosage strength depends on the extent of seriousness or intensity of your medical condition. Doses of 60 mEq per day is evenly distributed and taken as 2 doses (in the form of 30 mEq each) or as 3 (each dose pegged at 20 mEq) per day. You are advised to take these doses orally. For more details about how to safely use this med, talk to your caregiving team prior to starting your treatment for kidney stones.

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