Some common side effects of potassium pills include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, states MedlinePlus. Serious side effects, such as confusion, listlessness, leg weakness, stomach pain or black stools, require immediate medical attention. A tingling, burning or pulling sensation in the arms, legs, hands or feet is another serious side effect.
Potassium supplements prevent potassium deficiency in people with low potassium levels resulting from certain diseases or medications, explains MedlinePlus. Adequate potassium in the body ensures optimal functioning of the heart, kidneys, nerves, muscles and digestive system. People can take potassium supplements in various forms, including liquid, powder, capsules, regular tablets and extended-release tablets. Individuals should take potassium supplements with a full glass of water or juice.
Patients who take angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, such as captopril, lisinopril or enalapril, should speak to a doctor or pharmacist before starting a potassium supplement, according to MedlinePlus. Other medications may also interact with potassium supplements, including diuretics, amiloride, spironolactone and triamterene. Patients with a history of heart problems, kidney disease or Addison's disease should speak to a doctor to determine if potassium supplements are appropriate. While taking potassium supplements, patients should avoid consuming extra potassium found in items such as salt substitutes and low-sodium foods, notes the Mayo Clinic.