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Observations placeholder

Pharmaceuticals and potassium imbalance



Type of Spiritual Experience



No experience - an important explanatory paper

GCs are part of the feedback mechanism in the immune system that turns immune activity (inflammation) down. They are therefore used in medicine to treat diseases caused by an overactive immune system, such as allergies, asthma, autoimmune diseases, and sepsis.

A description of the experience

Pol Arch Med Wewn. 2008 Jul-Aug;118(7-8):431-4. Drug-induced abnormalities of potassium metabolism. Kokot F, Hyla-Klekot L. Department of Nephrology, Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases, Silesian Medical University, Katowice, Poland.

Pharmacotherapy has progressed rapidly over the last 20 years with the result that general practioners more and more often use drugs which may influence potassium metabolism at the kidney or gastrointestinal level, or the transmembrane transport of potassium at the cellular level.

Potassium abnormalities may result in life-theatening clinical conditions.

Hypokalemia  - is most frequently caused by renal loss of this electrolyte (thiazide, thiazide-like and loop diuretics, glucocorticoids) and the gastrointestinal tract (laxatives, diarrhea, vomiting, external fistula), and may be the result of an increased intracellular potassium influx induced by sympathicomimetics used mostly by patients with asthma, or by insulin overdosage in diabetic subjects.
The leading symptoms of hypokalemia are skeletal and smooth muscle weakness and cardiac arrhythmias.

Hyperkalemia  - may be caused by acute or end-stage renal failure, impaired tubular excretion of potassium (blockers of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, cyclosporine, antifungal drugs, potassium sparing diuretics), acidemia, and severe cellular injury (tumor lysis syndrome). Hyperkalemia may be the cause of severe injury of both skeletal and smooth muscle cells. The specific treatment counteracting hyperkalemia is a bolus injection of calcium salts and, when necessary, hemodialysis.

PMID: 18714739

The source of the experience


Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items


Activities and commonsteps