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What is potassium citrate?

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Quick Answer

Potassium citrate is a chemical compound with a formula of C6H5K3O7 and molecular weight of 306.39 grams per mole, notes PubChem. Medicinally, potassium citrate lowers the acidity of urine, thereby treating conditions such as kidney stones, renal tubular acidosis with calcium stones, and uric acid lithiasis, explains MedicineNet.

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What is potassium citrate?
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Full Answer

Potassium citrate exists in powder form and dissolves in water solution, states PubChem. It is a neutral compound, having a formal charge of zero. The compound lacks an odor but has a saline taste. Biologically, potassium citrate acts as a systemic alkalizer and diuretic, and it also serves as a source of electrolytes in the body.

The pharmaceutical brand name of potassium citrate is Urocit-K, which received FDA approval in 1985, explains MedicineNet. Upon entering the bladder, it crystallizes salts responsible for forming stones. It accomplishes this by raising the pH level of urine and increasing the urinary concentration of citrate. Patients who take potassium citrate may experience gastrointestinal side effects, including diarrhea, vomiting and nausea, as well as an increase in their potassium levels.

In rare cases, potassium citrate causes cardiac arrest in patients, states MedicineNet. This risk increases when taking it in conjunction with potassium-sparring diuretics, as these can further raise potassium levels. It is important to note that consuming salt substitutes can also increase blood potassium levels.

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