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As an essential nutrient, potassium is safe when taken at appropriate dosages. If you take a bit too much, your body will simply excrete it in the urine. However, people who have severe kidney disease cannot excrete potassium normally and should consult a physician before taking a potassium supplement. Similarly, individuals taking potassium-sparing diuretics (such as spironolactone), ACE inhibitors (such as captopril), 1 2 3 4 or trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole 5 should also not take potassium supplements except under doctor supervision.
Potassium pills can cause injury to the esophagus if they get stuck on the way down, so make sure to take them with plenty of water.
Interactions You Should Know About
If you are taking:
- Loop diuretics or thiazide diuretics : You may need more potassium.
- ACE inhibitors (eg, captopril , lisinopril , enalapril ), potassium-sparing diuretics (eg, triamterene or spironolactone ), or trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole : You should not take potassium except on the advice of a physician.
- Potassium: You may need extra magnesium and vitamin B 12 .
- Stoltz ML, Andrews CE Jr. Severe hyperkalemia during very-low-calorie diets and angiotensin converting enzyme use. JAMA. 264(21):2737-8.
- Good CB, McDermott L, McCloskey B. Diet and serum potassium in patients on ACE inhibitors. JAMA. 274(7):538.
- Warren SE, O'Conner DT. Hyperkalemia resulting from captopril administration. JAMA. 1980;244:2551-2552.
- Grossman A, Eckland D, Price P, Edwards CR. Captopril: reversible renal failure with severe hyperkalaemia. Lancet. 1(8170):712.
- Alappan R, Perazella MA, Buller GK. Hyperkalemia in hospitalized patients treated with trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. Ann Intern Med. 124(3):316-20.