Potassium citrate attaches to
calcium in the urine, preventing the formation of
mineral crystals that can develop into
Potassium citrate also prevents the urine from becoming too acidic.
This helps prevent uric acid or cystine kidney stones from forming.
Why It Is Used
Potassium citrate may prevent the formation of:
Calcium stones in people who have too little
citrate in their urine.
Uric acid stones or cystine stones in
people who have urine that is too acidic.
Potassium citrate may be used to replace
potassium that is lost when a thiazide medicine is
used to prevent kidney stones.
How Well It Works
In one study, potassium citrate reduced calcium stones by
90%.1 How well it works to prevent or reduce uric acid
and cystine stones is less well known.
All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.
Here are some important things to think about:
Usually the benefits of the medicine are more important than any minor side effects.
Side effects may go away after you take the medicine for a while.
If side effects still bother you and you wonder if you should keep taking the medicine, call your doctor. He or she may be able to lower your dose or change your medicine. Do not suddenly quit taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.
Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:
Swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor right away if you have:
Black or tarry stools.
Severe belly pain and cramping.
Common side effects of this medicine include:
Nausea and vomiting.
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference
is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
4 fl oz (118.3 mL) of frozen
concentrate lemonade in
1 qt (1 L) of water per day is
also a way of increasing potassium citrate in your body.
This medicine contains potassium. If you are on a diet that restricts potassium, talk with your doctor before taking this medicine.
Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.
There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.
Advice for women
If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant.
You will have to monitor your urinary acidity (pH) to keep the pH between 6.0 and 7.0 while taking
potassium citrate. If your urine pH is much lower than 6.0 or higher than 7.0,
kidney stones are more likely to form.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Spector DA (2007). Urinary stones. In NH Fiebach et
al., eds., Principles of Ambulatory Medicine, 7th ed.,
pp. 754–766. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.