Rates of potassium influx in red blood cells of three patients with hyperkalemic periodic paralysis were studied during attack-free states and during induced attacks of weakness. Potassium influx rates were normal when the patients were free of attacks but decreased during attacks. Twenty-four-hour administration of acetazolamide decreased resting potassium influx rates and minimized any further decreases due to the attack-inducing procedures. The data suggest that acetazolamide administration alters potassium exchange rates between intracellular and extracellular compartments in such a way as to protect from sudden upward surges in plasma potassium levels.
Beth Hoskins, Thomas H. Maren, Frederic Q. Vroom, Maureen A. Jarrell. Acetazolamide and Potassium Flux in Red Blood CellsStudies in Patients With Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis. Arch Neurol. 1974;31(3):187–191. doi:10.1001/archneur.1974.00490390069007