Drug information of potassium citrate

potassium citrate

Drug group:

Potassium citrate (also known as tripotassium citrate) is a potassium salt of citric acid. It is a white, hygroscopic crystalline powder. It is odorless with a saline taste. It contains 38.3% potassium by mass. In the monohydrate form it is highly hygroscopic and deliquescent.

Potassium citrate is used to treat a kidney stone condition called renal tubular acidosis. Potassium Citrate is indicated also for the management of Hypocitraturic calcium oxalate nephrolithiasis.

Mechanism of effect

After oral administration of potassium citrate, its metabolism yields alkaline load. Potassium Citrate therapy appears to increase urinary citrate mainly by modifying the renal handling of citrate, rather than by increasing the filtered load of citrate. In addition to raising urinary pH and citrate, Potassium Citrate increases urinary potassium by approximately the amount contained in the medication. In some patients, Potassium Citrate causes a transient reduction in urinary calcium.


Potassium citrate induces changes in the urine which renders urine less susceptible to the formation of crystals and stones from salts e.g. calcium oxalate, calcium phosphate and uric acid.

 Increased citrate levels in the urine will make complexation with calcium which decrease the calcium ion activity and decrease the chance for the formation of calcium phosphate crystals. Citrate also inhibits the spontaneous nucleation of calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate.


  • Onset: 1 hr
  • Duration: 12 hr
  • Metabolite: bicarbonate (active)
  • Excretion: urine



Alkalinizing Agent

Urinary citrate <150 mg/day: 60 mEq/day PO (20 mEq with each meal) OR

Urinary citrate >150 mg/day: 30 mEq/day PO (10 mEq with each meal)


  • Titrate dose to achieve urinary citrate 320-640 mg/day & urinary pH 6.0-7.0 (maximum dose 100 mEq/day)


Safety & efficacy not established


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Large doses may cause hyperkalemia and alkalosis, esp in renal impairment

Points of recommendation

Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.

You may need to have an ECG checked before starting potassium citrate and while taking it. Talk with your doctor.

Follow the diet plan that your doctor told you about.

You may need to check the acid content (pH) of your urine using a dipstick test.

If you are taking a salt substitute that has potassium in it, a potassium-sparing diuretic, or a potassium product, talk with your doctor.

If the tablet gets stuck after you swallow it, you may notice chest pain or pressure. If this happens, call your doctor right away. Do not take another tablet unless told to do so by your doctor.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks of using potassium citrate while you are pregnant.

Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. You will need to talk about any risks to your baby.

Take potassium citrate with food.

Take with a full glass of water.

Swallow whole. Do not chew, break, or crush.

Do not suck on this product.

Drink lots of noncaffeine liquids unless told to drink less liquid by your doctor.

Take a missed dose as soon as you think about it.

If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.

Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.

Related drugs

Sodium bicarbonate

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