General Comments: Administer IV solutions that contain potassium through a controller or pump device to regulate the rate. Mix oral potassium supplements in at least 4 ounces of fluid or food to prevent gastric irritation.

Medication or Drug Class




Potassium chloride

Oral or IV: 10-40 mEq PO, depending on severity of deficit; IV dosages should not exceed 20 mEq/hr except in unusual situations

Electrolyte replacement

Replaces needed electrolytes. Dilute IV potassium solutions because rapid IV administration can be dangerous as rapid increases of serum potassium levels depress cardiac muscle contractility and can lead to life-threatening dysrhythmias


Interventions are focused on the prevention of potassium imbalances, restoration of normal potassium balance, and supportive care for altered body functions until the hypokalemia is resolved. Teach all patients who are placed on potassium-depleting medications to increase their dietary intake of potassium. Encourage the patient to eat bulk-forming foods and drink at least 2 L of fluid a day unless fluids are restricted because of other patient conditions. Evaluate the patient's knowledge of dietary sources of potassium, and teach the patient and family the needed information. Institute safety measures to prevent falls because of confusion, muscle weakness, or fatigue.

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