Potassium citrate (generic name for Urocit-K and Twin-K) is a medication that belongs to the urinary alkalinizer class of drugs, and is mainly used as a non-irritating diuretic. It’s considered to be a urinary pH modifier, which works to reduce the amount of acid in the urine. Potassium citrate is effective in the treatment and management of a variety of medical disorders, including urinary calculi (kidney stones), cystine kidney stones, renal tubular acidosis, gout and hypokalemia. In addition to being prescribed for patients that need to limit their intake of potassium and sodium, it’s employed to decrease the danger of crystalluria during sulfonamide therapy and increase the effectiveness of some of antibiotics.
Potassium citrate gets absorbed quickly by the body, when administered orally and is then excreted as a carbonic salt. It also works as a diuretic by helping the body urinate regularly. As a result, symptoms that result from having an excessive amount acid in the urine, such as discomfort, pain and frequency of urination, are decreased. Since potassium citrate works as an alkalinizing agent, it’s able to modify the urinary pH level (measure of the acidity), lowering and neutralizing the total amount of acid in the urine.
The kidneys are in charge in releasing acid and alkaline through the urine and overseeing the healthy acid-to-base ratio, a vital part of the body’s general ability to sustain a stable pH level. Urine becomes increasingly acidic as excess amounts of sodium and acid are built up and not excreted from the body.
Potassium citrate works to help the kidneys counteract and reduce uric acid, therefore inhibiting various conditions that can arise as a result of having excess acid. When the body fails to eliminate uric acid, a person runs the risk of encountering crystals in their urine, kidney stones, renal tubular acidosis, gout and other related kidney complications.
Potassium citrate is administered in tablet form, and dosages tend to range according to the specific person and condition it’s being used to treat. Usually, the tablets are taken three to four times throughout the day with a sufficient amount of liquid to coat the stomach. While on the medication, patients are generally asked to go for periodic blood workups and ECGs to establish the dosage and duration of potassium citrate therapy.
People with preexisting medical conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease, chronic diarrhea and intestinal blockage, may be advised against the medication. Additionally, potassium citrate has the potential to adversely affect various over-the-counter and prescription drugs. Prior to taking the medication, be sure your doctor is aware of your medical history, medications and any allergies to the drug or its ingredients.
The potential side effects associated with potassium include diarrhea, nausea, stomach upset, vomiting and a tingling sensation in the hands and feet. Constant vomiting, increased confusion or agitation, irregular heartbeat, mouth numbness, muscle weakness severe stomach pain, and trouble breathing and/or swallowing are signs of a serious adverse reaction, and medical attention should be sought immediately.