Potassium Chloride vs Potassium Citrate: What’s the Difference?

Roni Shye
Roni Shye, PharmD BCGP BCACP, is a licensed pharmacist in the states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
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Potassium chloride and potassium citrate—they’re both potassium so they should be the same, right? The names of these medications look nearly identical and can be extremely confusing, but you should know that these different forms of potassium treat different conditions and can’t be substituted for each other.

What does potassium chloride treat?
Potassium chloride is indicated for the treatment of hypokalemia also known as low potassium levels.

Low potassium levels may be due to diet, a side effect of medications, diarrhea and vomiting, sweating, or certain diseases.

What is the brand name for potassium chloride?
Potassium chloride has been known by several brand names, with some examples including Klor-Con, K-Tab, Micro-K, K-DurK-Lyte, and K-Lor.

What does potassium citrate treat?
Potassium citrate is indicated for the treatment of kidney stones.

Kidney stones are crystal-like structures that form in the body usually as a result of excess amounts of uric acid or calcium. Kidney stone formation can be due to diet, certain diseases, genetics, or a side effect of medications.

What is the brand name of potassium citrate?

The brand name of potassium citrate is Urocit-K.

For more information on Urocit-K (potassium citrate) check out the manufacturer website.

In what dosages and forms are potassium chloride and potassium citrate available?
Potassium Chloride is available in 8 mEq, 10 mEq, 15 mEq, 20 mEq, 25 mEq, 40 mEq, and 50 mEq strengths, and in the following forms: tablet, capsule, effervescent tablet, powder packet, and liquid.

Potassium citrate is only available as a tablet, in 540 mg, 1080 mg, and 1620 mg (equivalent to 5 mEq, 10 mEq, and 15 mEq) strengths.

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