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December 16, 1968

Supplemental Potassium Therapy

Author Affiliations

Decatur, Ga

JAMA. 1968;206(12):2743-2744. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03150120077033

To the Editor:—  The long-term use of thiazides and other oral diuretics necessitates long-term supplemental potassium intake in many cases. Though potassium chloride tablets are inexpensive and a logical choice of treatment (since chloride and potassium deficiencies are likely to co-exist), experimental and circumstantial evidence suggests these tablets may cause small-bowel ulcerations.1,2 Hence, the pharmaceutical industry has in recent years introduced a number of liquid potassium preparations. These vary greatly in cost and some do not supply chloride ions.A 20% plain potassium chloride solution diluted in fruit juice has, in my experience, been the most useful and least expensive orally administered potassium agent. One teaspoonful in 6 oz of fruit juice taken three times daily provides 40 mEq potassium chloride plus another 15 to 30 mEq of potassium depending on the type of fruit juice used. (Apple juice contains approximately 5 mEq potassium per 6-oz glass, tomato juice