potassium bicarbonate

Pronunciation: poe tass EE um

Brand: Effervescent Potassium, K-Effervescent, K-vescent

What is the most important information I should know about potassium bicarbonate?

Avoid taking potassium supplements or using other products that contain potassium without first asking your doctor. Salt substitutes or low-salt dietary products often contain potassium. If you take certain products together you may accidentally get too much potassium. Read the label of any other medicine you are using to see if it contains potassium.

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There are many other medicines that can interact with potassium bicarbonate. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor. Keep a list with you of all the medicines you use and show this list to any doctor or other healthcare provider who treats you.

What is potassium bicarbonate?

Potassium is a mineral that is found naturally in foods and is necessary for many normal functions of your body, especially the beating of your heart.

Potassium bicarbonate is used to prevent or to treat a potassium deficiency (hypokalemia).

Potassium bicarbonate may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking potassium bicarbonate?

Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:

  • kidney disease;
  • Addison's disease;
  • stomach ulcer or an intestinal blockage; or
  • chronic diarrhea (colitis).

If you have any of these conditions, you may not be able to use potassium bicarbonate, or you may need a dose adjustment or special tests during treatment.

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FDA pregnancy category C. This medication may be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.

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It is not known whether potassium bicarbonate passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I take potassium bicarbonate?

Use this medication exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use it in larger amounts or for longer than recommended.

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Take each dose with a full glass of water.

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Take potassium bicarbonate with food or milk to lessen stomach upset.

Drop the effervescent tablets into a glass of water (at least 4 ounces, or one-half cup). Allow the tablets to dissolve completely and then drink this mixture right away. Do not save it for later use.

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Do not stop taking this medication without first talking to your doctor. If you stop taking potassium bicarbonate suddenly, your condition may become worse.

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Store potassium bicarbonate at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If you are more than 2 hours late in taking your medicine, skip the missed dose and wait until your next regularly scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

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Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine.

Overdose symptoms may include numbness or tingling in your hands or feet, uneven heart rate, paralysis, feeling like you might pass out, chest pain or heavy feeling, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, nausea, sweating, general ill feeling, or seizure (convulsions).

What should I avoid while taking potassium bicarbonate?

Avoid taking potassium supplements or using other products that contain potassium without first asking your doctor. Salt substitutes or low-salt dietary products often contain potassium. If you take certain products together you may accidentally get too much potassium. Read the label of any other medicine you are using to see if it contains potassium.

What are the possible side effects of potassium bicarbonate?

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Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

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Stop using potassium bicarbonate and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • confusion;
  • uneven heartbeat;
  • unusual tiredness, weakness, heavy feeling in your legs;
  • severe stomach pain cramping; or
  • black, bloody, or tarry stools.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or upset stomach;
  • a rash;
  • slight tingling in the hands or feet; or
  • anxiety.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Tell your doctor about any unusual or bothersome side effect. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect potassium bicarbonate?

The following drugs can interact with potassium bicarbonate. Tell your doctor if you are using any of these:

  • digoxin (Lanoxin);
  • an ACE inhibitor such as benazepril (Lotensin), captopril (Capoten), fosinopril (Monopril), enalapril (Vasotec), lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril), moexipril (Univasc), perindopril (Aceon), quinapril (Accupril), ramipril (Altace), or trandolapril (Mavik);
  • a beta-blocker such as atenolol (Tenormin), labetalol (Normodyne, Trandate), metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol), propranolol (Inderal, InnoPran), sotalol (Betapace), timolol (Blocadren);
  • a diuretic (water pill) such as amiloride (Midamor, Moduretic), chlorothiazide (Diuril, others), hydrochlorothiazide (Hydrodiuril, HCTZ, others), indapamide (Lozol), metolazone (Zaroxolyn), spironolactone (Aldactone, Aldactazide), or triamterene (Dyrenium, Dyazide, Maxzide);
  • aspirin or other NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), diclofenac (Voltaren), etodolac (Lodine), indomethacin (Indocin), ketoprofen (Orudis),, and others; or
  • a steroid such as prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone), hydrocortisone (Cortef, Hydrocortone), dexamethasone (Decadron, Hexadrol), and others.

This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can interact with potassium bicarbonate or affect your condition. Tell your doctor about all your prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

Your pharmacist can provide more information about potassium bicarbonate.


Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

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