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Questions & Answers
Side Effects & Adverse Reactions
In patients with impaired mechanisms for excreting potassium, the administration of potassium salts can produce hyperkalemia and cardiac arrest. This occurs most commonly in patients given potassium by the intravenous route but may also occur in patients given potassium orally. Potentially fatal hyperkalemia can develop rapidly and be asymptomatic. The use of potassium salts in patients with chronic renal disease, or any other condition which impairs potassium excretion, requires particularly careful monitoring of the serum potassium concentration and appropriate dosage adjustments.
Hypokalemia should not be treated by the concomitant administration of potassium salts and a potassium-sparing diuretic (e.g., spironolactone, triamterene, or amiloride), since the simultaneous administration of these agents can produce severe hyperkalemia.
Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (e.g., captopril, enalapril) will produce some potassium retention by inhibiting aldosterone production. Potassium supplements should be given to patients receiving ACE inhibitors only with close monitoring.
Solid oral dosage forms of potassium chloride can produce ulcerative and/or stenotic lesions of the gastrointestinal tract. Based on spontaneous adverse reaction reports, enteric coated preparations of potassium chloride are associated with an increased frequency of small bowel lesions (40 - 50 per 100,000 patient years) compared to sustained-release wax matrix formulations (less than one per 100,000 patient years). Because of the lack of extensive marketing experience with microencapsulated products, a comparison between such products and wax matrix or enteric coated products is not available. Klor-Con® Sprinkle (Potassium Chloride Extended-release Capsules, USP) Capsules 8 mEq and Klor-Con® Sprinkle (Potassium Chloride Extended-release Capsules, USP) Capsules 10 mEq are microencapsulated capsules formulated to provide a controlled rate of release of microencapsulated potassium chloride and thus to minimize the possibility of high local concentration of potassium near the gastrointestinal wall.
Prospective trials have been conducted in normal human volunteers in which the upper gastrointestinal tract was evaluated by endoscopic inspection before and after one week of solid oral potassium chloride therapy. The ability of this model to predict events occurring in usual clinical practice is unknown. Trials which approximated usual clinical practice did not reveal any clear differences between the wax matrix and microencapsulated dosage forms. In contrast, there was a higher incidence of gastric and duodenal lesions in subjects receiving a high dose of a wax matrix controlled-release formulation under conditions which did not resemble usual or recommended clinical practice (i.e., 96 mEq per day in divided doses of potassium chloride administered to fasted patients, in the presence of an anticholinergic drug to delay gastric emptying). The upper gastrointestinal lesions observed by endoscopy were asymptomatic and were not accompanied by evidence of bleeding (hemoccult testing). The relevance of these findings to the usual conditions (i.e., non-fasting, no anticholinergic agent, smaller doses) under which controlled-release potassium chloride products are used is uncertain; epidemiologic studies have not identified an elevated risk, compared to microencapsulated products, for upper gastrointestinal lesions in patients receiving wax matrix formulations. Klor-Con® Sprinkle (Potassium Chloride Extended-release Capsules, USP) Capsules 8 mEq and Klor-Con® Sprinkle (Potassium Chloride Extended-release Capsules, USP) Capsules 10 mEq should be discontinued immediately and the possibility of ulceration, obstruction or perforation considered if severe vomiting, abdominal pain, distention, or gastrointestinal bleeding occur.
Hypokalemia in patients with metabolic acidosis should be treated with an alkalinizing potassium salt such as potassium bicarbonate, potassium citrate, potassium acetate, or potassium gluconate.
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FDA Safety Alerts
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FDA Labeling Changes
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BECAUSE OF REPORTS OF INTESTINAL AND GASTRIC ULCERATION AND BLEEDING WITH CONTROLLED-RELEASE POTASSIUM CHLORIDE PREPARATIONS, THESE DRUGS SHOULD BE RESERVED FOR THOSE PATIENTS WHO CANNOT TOLERATE OR REFUSE TO TAKE LIQUID OR EFFERVESCENT POTASSIUM PREPARATIONS OR FOR PATIENTS IN WHOM THERE IS A PROBLEM OF COMPLIANCE WITH THESE PREPARATIONS.
- For the treatment of patients with hypokalemia with or without metabolic alkalosis, in digitalis intoxications, and in patients with hypokalemic familial periodic paralysis. If hypokalemia is the result of diuretic therapy, consideration should be given to the use of a lower dose of diuretic, which may be sufficient without leading to hypokalemia.
- For the prevention of hypokalemia in patients who would be at particular risk if hypokalemia were to develop e.g., digitalized patients or patients with significant cardiac arrhythmias, hepatic cirrhosis with ascites, states of aldosterone excess with normal renal function, potassium-losing nephropathy, and certain diarrheal states.
The use of potassium salts in patients receiving diuretics for uncomplicated essential hypertension is often unnecessary when such patients have a normal dietary pattern and when low doses of the diuretic are used. Serum potassium should be checked periodically, however, and if hypokalemia occurs, dietary supplementation with potassium-containing foods may be adequate to control milder cases. In more severe cases, and if dose adjustment of the diuretic is ineffective or unwarranted, supplementation with potassium salts may be indicated.
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Klor-Con® Sprinkle (Potassium Chloride Extended-release Capsules, USP) Capsules 8 mEq and Klor-Con® Sprinkle (Potassium Chloride Extended-release Capsules, USP) Capsules 10 mEq are oral dosage forms of microencapsulated potassium chloride containing 600 and 750 mg, respectively, of potassium chloride USP equivalent to 8 and 10 mEq of potassium.
Dispersibility of potassium chloride (KCl) is accomplished by microencapsulation and the incorporation of a flow agent. The resultant flow characteristics of the KCl microcapsules and the controlled release of K+ ions by the microcapsular membrane are intended to avoid the possibility that excessive amounts of KCl can be localized at any point on the mucosa of the gastrointestinal tract.
Each crystal of KCl is microencapsulated by a process with an insoluble polymeric coating which functions as a semi-permeable membrane; it allows for the controlled release of potassium and chloride ions over an eight-to-ten-hour period. Fluids pass through the membrane and gradually dissolve the potassium chloride within the microcapsules. The resulting potassium chloride solution slowly diffuses outward through the membrane. Klor-Con® Sprinkle (Potassium Chloride Extended-release Capsules, USP) Capsules 8 mEq and Klor-Con® Sprinkle (Potassium Chloride Extended-release Capsules, USP) Capsules 10 mEq are electrolyte replenishers. The chemical name of the active ingredient is potassium chloride and the structural formula is KCl. Potassium chloride USP occurs as a white, granular powder or as colorless crystals. It is odorless and has a saline taste. Its solutions are neutral to litmus. It is freely soluble in water and insoluble in alcohol.
The inactive ingredients are ethylcellulose, talc, gelatin and titanium dioxide. The 8 mEq blue capsules also contain FD&C Blue #1 and FD&C Red #3. The 10 mEq yellow capsules also contain D&C Yellow #10 and FD&C Red #40.