Potassium chloride and its various formulations can be confusing—you may not even realize several different types exist until reading this today! When it comes to supplementing low potassium levels, there are a few oral options, but they are absorbed into your system in different ways. If one type is causing troublesome side effects for you, another version may work better.
Does it matter which type I receive? Is there a difference in their absorption?
Oral potassium can upset the stomach and possibly lead to stomach obstruction or lesions. Be aware that you may tolerate one form of potassium better than another, and you may need to try more than one to find the best option for you.
When it comes to the effectiveness of different types, there have been several studies conducted that compare microencapsulated potassium (capsules) with wax matrix potassium (tablets), and there were no clear differences noted.
So what forms are available?
Potassium is available in tablets, capsules, effervescent tablets, powder packets, and liquid.
What are the differences between the various types of tablets and capsules?
- Wax Matrix (Klor-Con): This coating provides a controlled release of potassium to reduce the likelihood of a high concentration of potassium in the gastrointestinal tract.
- Microencapsulated (Micro-K, Klor-Con M): This capsule formulation is also intended to provide a slow rate of release of the potassium to reduce the likelihood of a high concentration of potassium in the gastrointestinal tract.
- Film-Coated (K-Tab): This coating uses a very thin layer of inactive ingredients on the tablet to protect your tongue from the flavor of the other ingredients (and the rest of the tablet from moisture and light). The film will break down with a little action from your stomach acid and saliva. However, film coated tablets do not significantly affect the way in which the drug is absorbed.