Quick Facts about Potassium Chloride
Are potassium chloride supplements safe to take? What is potassium chloride used for?
Potassium is an essential mineral to help your body function properly. It is especially important for maintaining good heart and kidney function, sending signals through the nerves, and muscle contraction. Low potassium levels (also called hypokalemia) can be caused by certain diseases, prolonged illness with diarrhea, or a side effect of certain medications.
If you have low potassium on a blood test, your doctor might prescribe a prescription for potassium supplements. There are also over-the-counter potassium supplements but always talk with your doctor before taking them.
Possible Potassium Chloride Side Effects
Potassium supplements are safe when given at the right dose. Yet, just like any other medication or supplements, there may be side effects. Usually, side effects occur when someone takes large doses of potassium chloride. These side effects can include stomach pain, diarrhea, muscle weakness, and a numbness or tingling sensation in the hands, feet, and mouth. In order to lower the chance of stomach irritation, take the supplement with a full serving of water and do not crush, break, or chew the tablets. If someone chews an extended-release formulation, a large amount of potassium may be released all at once, increasing the risk for side effects.
Risk Of High Levels Of Potassium
Just like it is a problem to have low potassium, it is also dangerous to have high potassium levels, so always follow the dosing instructions from your doctor and have blood tests as directed. Most cases of small accidental ingestions in a child or a dosing error with potassium supplements are manageable at home with only minor symptoms.
What To Do If There Is An Exposure
If you find a child gets into a bottle of potassium supplement or there is a medication error involving potassium chloride supplements, do not panic. Wipe out the mouth with a soft, wet cloth, or rinse the mouth with water and have some water to drink. If problems start or you have questions, call the Missouri Poison Center right away at 1-800-222-1222. The poison center is open all day, every day for poisoning emergencies and questions.