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Heart Dis Stroke. 1994 Mar-Apr;3(2):63-7.

Prevention of hypokalemia caused by diuretics.

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Department of Medicine, State University of New York Health Science Center, Brooklyn VA Medical Center.


Hypokalemia induced by the use of diuretics is common. Those at risk include the elderly, women, patients with edematous states, and patients in whom higher doses and/or the more potent agents are used. Prevention should include a low-salt diet rich in potassium, magnesium, and chloride (either through foods enriched with these elements or through potassium chloride supplements) and use of low doses of short-acting diuretics in the treatment of mild to moderate hypertension. The subgroup of hypertensive patients in whom hypokalemia develops despite these recommendations may benefit from a change to the potassium-sparing diuretic spironolactone or substitution of diuretics with alternative first-line drugs.

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