Potassium chloride Injection & Tablets - Uses, Dose

  • Potassium chloride (KCl) is the major intracellular cation in the body. It is required for cellular functioning, neuronal conduction, and gut motility.
  • Deficiency of Potassium in the body may occur as a result of excessive losses as in diarrhea, vomiting, or through urine (especially with potassium losing diuretics) or due to reduced intake.
  • Hypokalemia, when severe, can result in respiratory muscles and limb paralysis.
  • It can also result in reduced gut motility causing intestinal pseudoobstruction.
  • Life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias can occur as a result of severe hypokalemia especially in patients with pre-existing cardiac disease.
  • Potassium chloride is best administered via the oral route, however, in severe cases, slow intravenous administration is advised.

Potassium Chloride dose in adults:


Dose is expressed as mEq.Intermittent IV potassium administration should be reserved for severe depletion sin patients undergoing ECG monitoring.

Normal daily requirements of KCl:

  • Oral, IV: 40 to 80 mEq/day

Potassium chloride Dose in the Prevention of hypokalemia:

  • 20 to 40 mEq per oral per day in 1 to 2 divided doses

Potassium chloride  dose in the treatment of hypokalemia:

  • Mild to moderate hypokalemia:

  • Note:

    • If deficits are severe or ongoing losses are great, the IV route should be considered.
  • Capsules, tablets, oral solution:

    • Usual dose: 40 to 100 mEq per oral daily in divided doses;
    • limit single doses to 20 to 25 mEq/dose to avoid GI discomfort.
  • Powder for oral solution (Klor-Con):

    • Usual dose: 40 to 100 mEq daily in 2 to 5 divided doses, limit single doses to 40 mEq/dose
    • The maximum: 200 mEq/24 hours.


Total daily doses up to 120 mEq may be necessary depending on laboratory assessment, patient symptoms and/or ongoing losses.

  • Potassium Chloride Dose in Severe hypokalemia:

    • Some clinicians initiate prescribe 40 mEq given 3 to 4 times per day;
    • 20 mEq every 2 to 3 hours in conjunction with IV potassium administration with careful monitoring may also be administered.
    • Administration of dose >40 mEq orally per dose frequently cause GI irritation and nausea.
    • IV intermittent infusion:

      • Peripheral or central line:

        • ≤10 mEq/hour; repeat as needed based on frequently obtained lab values;
        • central line infusion and continuous ECG monitoring is necessary for infusions >10 mEq/hour.
    • Potassium dosage/rate of infusion general guidelines (per product labeling):

    • Note:

      • High variability exists in dosing/infusion rate recommendations;
      • Therapy is guided by the patient's condition and specific institutional guidelines.
As an estimate, 10 mEq of potassium chloride will roughly increase serum levels by 0.1 mEq/L.
  • Serum potassium levels <3.5 mEq/L may require increased amounts due to total body potassium deficit.
  • Serum potassium >2.5 to 3.5 mEq/L:

    • Maximum infusion rate: 10 mEq/hour;
    • maximum concentration: 40 mEq/L
    • maximum 24-hour dose: 200 mEq
  • Serum potassium <2.5 mEq/L or symptomatic hypokalemia (excluding emergency treatment of cardiac arrest):

    • Maximum infusion rate (central line only): 40 mEq/hour with continuous ECG and level monitoring.
    • In selected situations, patients may require up to 400 mEq/24 hours.

Potassium chloride dose in children:


Oral solutions are available in two concentrations: 20 mEq/15 mL (1.33 mEq/mL) and 40 mEq/15 mL (2.67 mEq/mL); Use extra precaution; Verify product formulation for dosage calculation.

KCL Dose in the prevention of hypokalemia as in ongoing drug losses (eg, concurrent diuretic therapy of Hypokalemia):

  • Infants, Children, and Adolescents:

    • 1 to 2 mEq/kg per oral in 1 to 2 divided doses;
    • The usual single dose should not exceed the usual adult single dose: 20 mEq/dose;
    • Although some patients may require a single dose up to 40 mEq/dose, some patients may require higher individual daily doses based on lab values and ongoing losses.

Potassium chloride dose to treat mild to moderate Hypokalemia:

  • Infants, Children, and Adolescents:

    • 2 to 5 mEq/kg per oral in divided doses; not to exceed 1 to 2 mEq/kg as a single dose or 20 mEq (whichever is less);
    • Intravenous administration is necessary in cases of severe deficit.

Potassium chloride dose for the treatment of severe Hypokalemia:

  • Infants, Children, and Adolescents:

    • Intermittent IV infusion: 0.5 to 1 mEq/kg/dose
    • maximum dose: 40 mEq/dose;
    • Infuse at a rate ≤0.5 mEq/kg/hour (see "How to administer" tab for more detail on rate)
    • Serum potassium levels should be checked 1 to 2 hours after infusion;
    • The dose may be repeated as needed based on lab values;
    • severe depletion or ongoing losses may require >200% of normal daily maintenance.

Potassium chloride Dose in the maintenance requirement of Parenteral nutrition:

  • As an additive to parenteral nutrition solution:

    • Infants and Children weighing ≤50 kg:

      • 2 to 4 mEq/kg/day
    • Children weighing >50 kg and Adolescents:

      • 1 to 2 mEq/kg/day

Pregnancy Risk Category: C

  • The requirements for potassium are the same for pregnant and unpregnant women.
  • It has not been shown to have any adverse effects on pregnancy.
  • It should not be used in patients suffering from preeclampsia.

Potassium chloride use during breastfeeding:

  • Breast milk contains potassium secretion.
  • Normal human milk potassium content is 13 mEq/L. Normal concentrations would not be affected by supplementation.

Dose adjustment in renal disease:

There are no specific dosage adjustments provided in the manufacturer's labeling. 50% dose reduction is required in patients with renal impairment . Its use is contraindicated in patients with renal failure.

Dose adjustment in liver disease:

There are no specific dosage adjustments provided in the manufacturer's labeling; use oral formulations with caution in patients with cirrhosis.

Side effects of Potassium Chloride:

  • Cardiovascular:

    • Cardiac Arrhythmia
    • Cardiac Conduction Disturbance
    • Edema
    • Peripheral Edema
  • Endocrine & Metabolic:

    • Fluid And Electrolyte Disturbance
    • Hypervolemia
  • Gastrointestinal:

    • Abdominal Cramps
    • Abdominal Distress
    • Abdominal Pain
    • Diarrhea
    • Flatulence
    • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage
    • Gastrointestinal Irritation
    • Gastrointestinal Obstruction
    • Gastrointestinal Perforation
    • Gastrointestinal Ulcer
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
  • Respiratory:

    • Pulmonary Edema

Contraindications to Potassium chloride:

  • Hypersensitivity to potassium chloride and any other component of the formulation
  • Failure of the renal system
  • Hyperkalemia
  • There are certain conditions that can lead to potassium retention.
  • These include pharmacologic, structural or pathological causes for delay or arrest in passage through the GI tract.

Warnings and precautions

  • Extravasation:

    • Potassium chloride is vesicant/irritant at concentrations greater than 0.01 mEq/mL.
    • To avoid extravasation, it is important to position the needle correctly before and during infusion.
  • Hyperkalemia:

    • It can occur when IV or oral medication is used.
    • The risk factors include acute dehydration, heart failure, severe renal impairment, extensive burns or tissue injury, systemic acidosis, adrenal insufficiency, or the administration of potassium-sparing diuretics.
    • It is essential to monitor serum potassium closely.
  • Hypersensitivity/ Infusion reactions

    • Injectable potassium can cause hypersensitivity, such as anaphylaxis or chills. This should be stopped immediately.
  • Hyponatremia:

    • Hyponatremia can be a risk in children, elderly, psychogenic polydipsia, and combination with diuretics.
    • Monitor your levels of sodium and potassium.
  • Acid/base disorders:

    • Hyperkalemia can be associated with hyperosmolality, acidosis, or correction of alkalosis. You should monitor your serum potassium carefully.
  • Cardiovascular disease

    • It should not be used in cardiac arrhythmias, heart failure, and atrioventricular hyper/hypokalemia.
  • Hepatic impairment

    • Patients with cirrhosis should be cautious; it is important to monitor the serum potassium more often.
  • Renal impairment

    • It is best to avoid patients suffering from renal impairment.

Potassium chloride: Drug Interaction

Risk Factor C (Monitor therapy)


Potassium Salts may enhance the hyperkalemic effect of Aliskiren.

Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers

Potassium Salts may enhance the hyperkalemic effect of Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers.

Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors

Potassium Salts may enhance the hyperkalemic effect of Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors.


Potassium Salts may enhance the hyperkalemic effect of Drospirenone.


May enhance the hyperkalemic effect of Potassium Salts.

Heparins (Low Molecular Weight)

May enhance the hyperkalemic effect of Potassium Salts.


May enhance the hyperkalemic effect of Potassium Salts.

Risk Factor D (Consider therapy modification)


May enhance the hyperkalemic effect of Potassium Salts. Management: This combination is contraindicated in patients receiving eplerenone for treatment of hypertension.

Potassium-Sparing Diuretics

Potassium Salts may enhance the hyperkalemic effect of Potassium-Sparing Diuretics.

Risk Factor X (Avoid combination)

Anticholinergic Agents

May enhance the ulcerogenic effect of Potassium Chloride. Management: Patients on drugs with substantial anticholinergic effects should avoid using any solid oral dosage form of potassium chloride.

Glycopyrrolate (Systemic)

May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Potassium Chloride. This is specific to solid oral dosage forms of potassium chloride.


Monitoring parameters:

  • Renal function tests
  • Serum electrolytes including serum potassium, calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphate, sodium
  • Acid/base balance
  • Intravenous infusion site
  • ECG/cardiac monitoring(if intermittent infusion or potassium infusion rates 0.5 mEq/kg/hour in children or >10 mEq/hour in adults).

How to administer Potassium chloride?

For Parenteral Use:

  • Potassium must be diluted before parenteral administration and always given as a slow infusion.
  • In general, the rate of administration may be dependent on patient condition and specific institution policy.
  • Some clinicians recommend that the maximum concentration for peripheral infusion is 10 mEq/100 mL and the maximum rate of administration for peripheral infusion is 10 mEq/hour.
  • For peripheral or central infusions >10 mEq/hour in adults, ECG monitoring is necessary.
  • Higher concentrations and more rapid rates of infusion may be used with a central line such as concentrations of 20 to 40 mEq/100 mL at a maximum rate of 40 mEq/hour can be safely infused.
  • Potassium chloride is a vesicant/irritant (at concentrations >0.1 mEq/mL) therefore proper positioning of the needle before and during IV infusion is required to avoid extravasation.

Extravasation management:

  • The infusion should be immediately stopped and disconnected leaving the cannula in place.
  • The extravasated solution should be gently aspirated without flushing the line and hyaluronidase antidote should be started.
  • The cannula should be removed and dry cold compresses should be applied in addition to elevating the extremity.


  • Intradermal or SubQ:

    • 1 to 1.7 mL (15 units/mL) as five separate 0.2 to 0.3 mL injections (using a 25-gauge needle) is injected into the area of extravasation at the leading edge in a clockwise manner.

Oral Tablets:

  • It should be taken orally with meals (or immediately after eating) and a full glass of water or other liquid to prevent GI irritation.
  • Oral preparations recommend more than 20 mEq to 40 mEq should not be given as a single dose.

Potassium chloride Capsule:

  • MicroK: It should be swallowed as a whole without chewing.
  • The capsules may also be opened and contents sprinkled on a spoonful of applesauce or pudding and should be swallowed immediately without chewing.

Potassium Chloride Powder for oral solution: Klor-Con:

  • One packet is dissolved in at least 120 mL of cold water or other liquid before administration.
  • Dilution can be increased in cases of gastrointestinal irritation.

Tablet: K-Tab, Kaon-Cl, Klor-Con:

  • Tablets should be swallowed as a whole without crushing, chewing.

Klor-Con M:

  • Tablets should be swallowed as a whole without crushing, chewing.
  • The tablet may also be broken in half and each half is swallowed separately;
  • The whole tablet may be dissolved in 4 ounces of water allowing 2 minutes to dissolve by stirring well and drinking immediately.

Mechanism of action of Potassium chloride:

  • Potassium, the main intracellular fluid cation, is vital for nerve impulse conduction in the brain, heart, and skeletal muscles.
  • It causes smooth, cardiac, and skeletal muscle contractions, as well as maintaining acid-base balance, carbohydrate metabolism and gastric secretion and normal renal function.


  • Well absorbed from the upper GI tract


  • Active transport from extracellular fluid into cells to enter the cells


  • Urine, skin and feces (small quantities); most of the intestinal potassium reabsorbed  

International Brands of Potassium chloride:

  • K-Sol
  • K-Tab
  • Klor-Con
  • Klor-Con 10
  • Klor-Con M10
  • Klor-Con M15
  • Klor-Con M20
  • Klor-Con Sprinkle
  • Micro-K
  • Potassium Chloride PROAMP
  • APO-K
  • Micro-K
  • Slo-Pot 600
  • Addi-K
  • Alkay ER
  • Apo-K
  • Beacon K
  • Budaxiu
  • Chloropotassuril
  • Clor-K-Zat
  • Clotassio
  • Co-Salt
  • Control K
  • Corpotasin
  • Crysta K
  • Di Jia
  • Diffu-K
  • Duro-K
  • Dyna-K
  • Electro K
  • Enpott
  • Flexivial
  • Geo
  • Gluco-K
  • Ionclor
  • K-Card
  • K-Chlor
  • K-Contin
  • K-Contin Continus
  • K-Dur
  • K-Norm
  • K-Retard
  • K-Supply
  • K-Tab
  • Kadalex
  • Kaion Retard
  • Kaldyum
  • Kaleorid
  • KaliSterop
  • Kaligen
  • Kalinor-Retard P
  • Kalinorm
  • Kaliolite
  • Kalipoz
  • Kalitabs
  • Kalium
  • Kalium-R
  • Kalnormin
  • Kalytes
  • Katelin
  • Kation
  • Kay-Cee-L
  • Kay-Ciel
  • Kaylyte
  • KCL Retard
  • Kelefusin
  • Keylyte
  • KSR
  • Lejia
  • Lento-Kalium
  • MicroKalium Retard
  • Orakit
  • Perennum
  • Plenisk-K
  • Plus Kalium Retard
  • Pota-K
  • Potasion
  • Potassin
  • Potassride
  • Potazek
  • Potklor
  • Potrelease TR
  • Rekawan
  • Sando-K
  • Sandoz K
  • Slow-K
  • Slow-K MR
  • Span-K
  • Susta-K
  • Sylvite
  • Tascit
  • Xian Jia
  • Xin Jian Ju
  • Zerosodio

Potassium Chloride Brands in Pakistan:

Potassium Chloride Injection 7.45 % W/V

7.45% Kcl Usmanco International
Electrosol Kcl Geofman Pharmaceuticals
Potassium Chloride Hospital Supply Corporattion


Potassium Chloride Syrup 1 G/5ml

K-Care Life Pharmaceutical Company
K-Lyte Specific Research Laboratories


Potassium Chloride Syrup 40 meq/5ml

Kalaride Global Pharmaceuticals


Potassium Chloride Solution 15 % W/V

Strong Pot Chloride Lahore Chemical & Pharmaceutical Works (Pvt) Ltd


Potassium Chloride [Tabs 500 Mg]
Caramet Caraway Pharmaceuticals
K-Lyte Specific Research Laboratories
Poklite Irza Pharma (Pvt) Ltd.


Potassium Chloride Tablets SR 500 mg 

K-Tab Valor Pharmaceuticals
Kloride Karachi Pharmaceutical Laboratory
Neo-K Zafa Pharmaceutical Laboratories (Pvt) Ltd.
Potassium Chloride Geofman Pharmaceuticals


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