Pediatric Hypokalemia Medication

Updated: Jan 06, 2021
  • Author: Michael J Verive, MD, FAAP; Chief Editor: Timothy E Corden, MD  more...
  • Print

Medication Summary

Medical therapy is aimed at potassium supplementation by the enteral (ie, oral or through feeding tubes) or parenteral route. Transient, asymptomatic, or mild hypokalemia may resolve spontaneously, or it may be treated using enteral potassium supplements. Symptomatic or severe hypokalemia should be corrected with intravenous potassium preparations.


Potassium supplements

Class Summary

These agents are used to restore body potassium storage. Electrolytes are used to correct disturbances in fluid and electrolyte homoeostasis or acid-base balance and to reestablish osmotic equilibrium of specific ions.

Potassium chloride (also citrate, acetate, bicarbonate, gluconate)

Potassium chloride is the preferred salt for patients with preexisting alkalosis. First choice for IV therapy. Essential for transmission of nerve impulses; contraction of cardiac muscle; and maintenance of intracellular tonicity, skeletal and smooth muscles, and normal renal function. Gradual potassium depletion occurs via renal excretion, through GI loss, or because of low intake. Depletion may result from diuretic therapy, primary or secondary hyperaldosteronism, diabetic ketoacidosis, severe diarrhea, vomiting, or inadequate replacement during prolonged parenteral nutrition.