November 1985

Effectiveness of Potassium Chloride or Triamterene in Thiazide Hypokalemia

Author Affiliations

From the Veterans Administration and Georgetown University Medical Centers, Washington, DC.

Arch Intern Med. 1985;145(11):1986-1990. doi:10.1001/archinte.1985.00360110056015

• Potassium chloride was compared with triamterene in a crossover trial involving 16 hypertensive patients with overt diuretic-induced hypokalemia. Potassium chloride, 24 to 96 mEq/day, normalized the plasma potassium (PK) level at 3.5 mEq/L or more in only eight of the patients. The average increase in PK level was 0.58 mEq/L. Triamterene, 50 to 200 mg daily, normalized PK level in ten of the patients. The average increase in PK level was 0.72 mEq/L, which was not significantly different than that with potassium therapy. Some patients who responded to potassium did not respond to triamterene, and vice versa. Most of the administered potassium was excreted in the urine even with persisting hypokalemia. Addition of triamterene to diuretic therapy resulted in a small but statistically significant increase in plasma creatinine level.

(Arch Intern Med 1985;145:1986-1990)