Why Can’t I Lay Down After Taking Potassium Chloride (KCl)?

If you have picked up a prescription for KCl tablets or capsules recently, you might have noticed a warning on the label that states that you should not lay down for 30 minutes after taking the medicine.  Well, that certainly is inconvenient! What do you do if you take your meds before bed?  Sleep standing up?

When we learned about this warning, we were thrilled! What a great motivator to switch from a KCl tablet or capsule to Effer-K, effervescent potassium citrate.   You can take Effer-K sitting up, laying down or standing on your head (albeit you may need a straw).

But then we wondered why? Here’s the reason.  Potassium chloride is corrosive.  If the tablet or capsule were to sit in the esophagus it would be very irritating and could lead to ulcers.  Standing after taking the medication helps it to reach the stomach.  The KCl tablet (combined with food in the stomach) becomes less irritating.

Nevertheless, why subject yourself to such irritation? Effer-K, effervescent potassium citrate, repletes potassium levels as effectively as KCl.  Yet it can be dissolved in a beverage and be taken at any time and in any position.

To see the warning, view the potassium chloride drug listing on the Walgreens web site.

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