University of Miami Division of clinical pharmacology therapeutic rounds

Drug-induced hyperkalemia

Richard A Preston, Marc J. Hirsh, James R. Oster, Harold R. Oster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Drug-induced hyperkalemia is an important but often overlooked problem encountered commonly in clinical practice. It may occur in the ambulatory as well as the impatient setting. Every evaluation of a hyperkalemic patient should include a careful review of medications to determine if a drug capable of causing or aggravating hyperkalemia is present. Medications generally produce hyperkalemia either by causing redistribution of potassium (β2- adrenergic blockers, succinylcholine, digitalis overdose, hypertonic mannitol) or by impairing renal potassium excretion. Drugs cause impaired renal potassium excretion by (1) interfering with the production and/or secretion of aldosterone (nonsterodial anti-inflammatory drugs, angiotensin- converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin-II receptor antagonists, heparin, cyclosporine, and FK 506) or (2) blocking the kaliuretic effects of aldosterone (potassium-sparing diuretics, trimethoprim, pentamidine, and nefamostat mesilate). Because severe renal insufficeiency is generally required to cause hyperkalemia, an elevated serum potassium concentration in a patient with mild-to-moderate renal failure should not be ascribed to renal failure alone. A careful search for 'hidden' potassium loads and for causes of impaired tubular secretion of potassium (including drugs) is necessary. Finally, it is important to recognize that the causes of hyperkalemia may be additive. Patients may have more than one cause of hyperkalemia at the same time. Therefore, all potential causes of hyperkalemia, including drugs, should be systematically evaluated in every hyperkalemic patient.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-132
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Therapeutics
Volume5
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998

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Hyperkalemia
Clinical Pharmacology
Potassium
Pharmaceutical Preparations
Aldosterone
Therapeutics
Renal Insufficiency
Potassium Sparing Diuretics
Pentamidine
Mesylates
Succinylcholine
Trimethoprim
Adrenergic Antagonists
Digitalis
Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists
Tacrolimus
Mannitol
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors
Cyclosporine
Heparin

Keywords

  • Drugs
  • Hyperkalemia
  • Potassium
  • Renin-angiotensin system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology

Cite this

University of Miami Division of clinical pharmacology therapeutic rounds : Drug-induced hyperkalemia. / Preston, Richard A; Hirsh, Marc J.; Oster, James R.; Oster, Harold R.

In: American Journal of Therapeutics, Vol. 5, No. 2, 01.01.1998, p. 125-132.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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