Which medications are used in the treatment of hypokalemia (low potassium level)?

Updated: Dec 06, 2018
  • Author: Eleanor Lederer, MD, FASN; Chief Editor: Vecihi Batuman, MD, FASN  more...
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Answer

Usually, oral potassium chloride is administered when potassium levels need to be replenished, as well as, in patients with ongoing potassium loss (eg, those on thiazide diuretics), when it must be maintained. Potassium-sparing diuretics are generally used only in patients with normal renal function who are prone to significant hypokalemia.

Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, which inhibit renal potassium excretion, can ameliorate some of the hypokalemia that thiazide and loop diuretics can cause. However, ACE inhibitors can lead to lethal hyperkalemia in patients with renal insufficiency who are taking potassium supplements or potassium-sparing diuretics.


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