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Generic Virtrate-K

CITRIC ACID; POTASSIUM CITRATE is used to make the urine more alkaline or less acidic. This helps prevent some kidney stones. It is also used to treat metabolic acidosis, a condition in some people with kidney problems. Compare alkalinizing agents.
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What is Potassium Citrate/Citric Acid?

Commonly Used Brand Name(s)Citra pH, Cytra-K, Cytra-K Crystals, Liqui-DualCitra, Polycitra-K, Polycitra-K Crystals, Urocit-K 10, Urocit-K 15, Urocit-K 5, Pms-Dicitrate

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OverviewTOP

Citrates are used to make the urine more alkaline (less acid). This helps prevent certain kinds of kidney stones. Citrates are sometimes used with other medicines to help treat kidney stones that may occur with gout. They are also used to make the blood more alkaline in certain conditions

Citrates are available only with your doctor's prescription.

Proper UseTOP

For patients taking the tablet form of this medicine:

  • Swallow the tablets whole. Do not crush, chew, or suck the tablet.
  • Take with a full glass (8 ounces) of water.
  • If you have trouble swallowing the tablets or they seem to stick in your throat, check with your doctor at once. If this medicine is not completely swallowed and not properly dissolved, it can cause severe irritation.

For patients taking the liquid form of this medicine:

  • Dilute with a full glass (6 ounces) of water or juice and drink; follow with additional water, if desired.
  • Chill, but do not freeze, this medicine before taking it, for a better taste.

For patients taking the crystals form of this medicine:

  • Add the contents of one packet to at least 6 ounces of cool water or juice.
  • Stir well to make sure the crystals are completely dissolved.
  • Drink all the mixture to be sure you are taking the correct dose. Follow with additional water or juice, if desired.

Take each dose immediately after a meal or within 30 minutes after a meal or bedtime snack. This helps prevent the medicine from causing stomach pain or a laxative effect.

Drink at least a full glass (8 ounces) of water or other liquid (except milk) every hour during the day (about 3 quarts a day), unless otherwise directed by your doctor. This will increase the flow of urine and help prevent kidney stones.

Take this medicine only as directed by your doctor. Do not take more of it, do not take it more often, and do not take it for a longer time than your doctor ordered. This is especially important if you are also taking a diuretic (water pill) or digitalis medicine for your heart.

DosingTOP

The dose medicines in this class will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of these medicines. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

    For potassium citrate

  • For oral dosage form (tablets):
    • To make the urine more alkaline (less acidic) and to prevent kidney stones:
      • Adults—At first, 1.08 to 2.16 grams three times a day with meals. Some people may take 1.62 grams four times a day with meals or within thirty minutes after a meal or bedtime snack. Your doctor may change your dose if needed. However, most people usually will not take more than 10.8 grams a day.
      • Children—Dose must be determined by your doctor.

    For potassium citrate and citric acid

  • For oral dosage form (solution):
    • To make the urine or blood more alkaline (less acidic) and to prevent kidney stones:
      • Adults—At first, 2 to 3 teaspoonfuls of solution, mixed with water or juice, four times a day, after meals and at bedtime. Your doctor may change the dose if needed.
      • Children—Dose must be determined by your doctor.
    • To make the urine more alkaline (less acidic):
      • Children—At first, 1 to 3 teaspoonfuls of solution, mixed with water or juice, four times a day after meals and at bedtime. Your doctor may change the dose if needed.
  • For oral dosage form (crystals for solution):
    • To make the urine or blood more alkaline (less acidic) and to prevent kidney stones:
      • Adults—At first, 3.3 grams of potassium citrate, mixed with water or juice, four times a day, after meals and at bedtime. Your doctor may change the dose if needed.
      • Children—Use is not recommended.

    For potassium citrate and sodium citrate

  • For oral dosage form (tablets):
    • To make the urine more alkaline (less acidic) and to prevent kidney stones:
      • Adults—At first, 1 to 4 tablets after meals and at bedtime.
      • Children—Dose must be determined by your doctor.

    For sodium citrate and citric acid

  • For oral dosage form (solution):
    • To make the urine and blood more alkaline (less acidic) and to prevent kidney stones:
      • Adults—At first, 2 to 6 teaspoonfuls of solution four times a day, after meals and at bedtime. The solution should be mixed in one to three ounces of water. Your doctor may change the dose if needed. However, most people will usually not take more than five ounces a day.
    • To make the blood more alkaline (less acidic):
      • Adults—1 to 2 tablespoonfuls as a single dose. You may mix it in one to two tablespoonfuls of water.
    • To make the contents of the stomach less acidic before surgery:
      • Children—At first, 1 to 3 teaspoonfuls of solution four times a day, after meals and at bedtime. The solution should be mixed in one to three ounces of water. Your doctor may change the dose if needed.

    For tricitrates

  • For oral dosage form (solution):
    • To make the urine and blood more alkaline (less acidic) and to prevent kidney stones:
      • Adults—At first, 1 to 2 tablespoonfuls of solution four times a day, after meals and at bedtime. Your doctor may change the dose if needed.
    • To make the contents of the stomach less acidic before surgery:
      • Adults—1 tablespoonful as a single dose. You should mix the solution in one tablespoonful of water.
    • To make the urine or blood more alkaline (less acidic):
      • Children—At first, 5 to 10 mL four times a day after meals and at bedtime. Your doctor may change the dose if needed.

Missed DoseTOP

If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.

Use & StorageTOP

Keep out of the reach of children.

Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

AllergiesTOP

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to medicines in this group or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

PediatricTOP

Although there is no specific information comparing use of citrates in children with use in other age groups, these medicines are not expected to cause different side effects or problems in children than they do in adults.

GeriatricTOP

Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults or if they cause different side effects or problems in older people. There is no specific information comparing use of citrates in the elderly with use in other age groups.

PregnancyTOP

Studies on effects in pregnancy have not been done in either humans or animals.

Breast FeedingTOP

Although it is not known whether citrates pass into the breast milk, this medicine has not been reported to cause problems in nursing babies.

Drug InteractionsTOP

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your healthcare professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.

Other InteractionsTOP

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other Medical ProblemsTOP

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of medicines in this class. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Diarrhea (chronic)—Treatment with citrates may not be effective; a change in dose of citrate may be needed.
  • Edema (swelling of the feet or lower legs) or
  • High blood pressure or
  • Toxemia of pregnancy—The sodium in sodium-containing citrates may cause the body to retain (keep) water.
  • Heart disease—The sodium in sodium-containing citrates may cause the body to retain (keep) water; the potassium in potassium-containing citrates may make heart disease worse.
  • Intestinal or esophageal blockage—Potassium citrate tablets may cause irritation of the stomach or intestines.

PrecautionsTOP

It is important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits. This is to make sure the medicine is working properly and to check for unwanted effects.

Do not eat salty foods or use extra table salt on your food while you are taking citrates. This will help prevent kidney stones and unwanted effects.

Check with your doctor before starting any strenuous physical exercise, especially if you are out of condition and are taking any other medication. Exercise and certain medications may increase the amount of potassium in the blood.

For patients taking potassium citrate–containing medicines:

  • Do not use salt substitutes and low-salt milk unless told to do so by your doctor. They may contain potassium.
  • Check with your doctor at once if you are taking the tablet form and notice black, tarry stools or other signs of stomach or intestinal bleeding.
  • Do not be alarmed if you notice what appears to be a whole tablet in the stool after taking potassium citrate tablets. Your body has received the proper amount of medicine from the tablet and has expelled the tablet shell. However, it is a good idea to check with your doctor also.
  • If you are on a potassium-rich or potassium-restricted diet, check with your health care professional. Potassium citrate–containing medicines contain a large amount of potassium.

For patients taking sodium citrate–containing medicines:

  • If you are on a sodium-restricted diet, check with your health care professional. Sodium citrate–containing medicines contain a large amount of sodium.
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