High potassium is hyperkalemia, a condition where the potassium levels in your blood are higher than normal. It can be an ongoing threat if not treated. Potassium is a nutrient that your body needs in order to keep your muscles, nerves, and heart working well. It's also important for digestive and bone health.
Normal blood potassium levels are 3.5 to 5.0 millimoles per liter (mmol/L). In some cases, up to 5.2 mmol/L is considered normal.
Sometimes, hyperkalemia can be described as mild, moderate, or severe. As your potassium levels rise, so does the risk of hospitalization. So no matter which type you have, it's important to work with your healthcare provider as soon as possible to bring your potassium down to a safer level.
- You may not have any symptoms, or you may have mild and non-specific symptoms, such as nausea, numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness
- Your potassium level is increased (>5.0 to <5.5 mmol/L)
- You may have mild symptoms such as weakness or fatigue
- Your potassium level is increased (5.5 to 6.0 mmol/L)
- You may have severe symptoms, such as muscle pain, loss of muscle function, or serious heart issues
- Your potassium level is very high (>6.0 mmol/L)
- Having a blood potassium level higher than 6.0 mmol/L can be life-threatening and may require immediate treatment
Hyperkalemia can remain undetected until it becomes dangerously high and causes serious health issues. Oftentimes, the condition is detected by routine blood work. Don’t wait to talk to your healthcare provider if you begin to feel any of these symptoms:
- Muscle fatigue
- Tingling or unusual sensations
If there is very high potassium in the blood or if symptoms come on, it can be life-threatening. If you begin to experience any of these serious warning signs, seek immediate medical assistance:
- Fluttering or pounding heartbeats
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Nausea or vomiting
Don’t delay. Call 911 or go to the emergency room. Sudden elevation in potassium above certain levels can be a life-threatening condition. Seek immediate medical care.
LOKELMA is indicated for the treatment of hyperkalemia in adults.
LOKELMA should not be used as an emergency treatment for life-threatening hyperkalemia because of its delayed onset of action.
High-potassium foods and drinks are those with more than 200 mg (200 milligrams) of potassium per serving.
Select low-potassium foods to include (but limit portion size):
- Some fruits, such as apples, strawberries, blueberries, grapes, and cranberries
- Some vegetables, such as asparagus, eggplant, green beans, cauliflower, carrots, and peppers
- Rice, noodles, pasta, bread, and bread products (not whole grains)
Select high-potassium foods to avoid:
- Certain fruits, such as bananas, oranges, mangos, avocado, and dried fruit
- Some vegetables, such as beets, spinach, sweet potatoes, beans (black, pinto, baked), potatoes, and tomatoes
- Milk and yogurt, chocolate, peanut butter, nuts, seeds, and granola
- Salt substitutes
LOKELMA is a prescription medicine for adults with hyperkalemia.
- It helps lower potassium levels and keeps it there with continued treatment
- It’s not absorbed in the body. It’s a potassium binder that works in the digestive tract where it binds potassium and removes it from the body so it doesn’t enter the bloodstream
- LOKELMA can also be taken by people who are on dialysis treatment
- LOKELMA is designed to target and remove potassium and not calcium and magnesium
When you fill your prescription, you will receive LOKELMA as a white to grey powder in foil-lined packets
For people not on dialysis:
Your initial treatment may be one 10 g packet taken three times a day for up to 48 hours. Once you have completed the initial treatment doses, take one 10 g packet once daily to keep your potassium levels lower. Your doctor may monitor your potassium level and adjust your dose. Continue to take LOKELMA as directed by your healthcare provider.
For people who are on dialysis:
- Do not take LOKELMA on dialysis days
- Tell your healthcare provider if you suddenly feel sick such as decreased oral intake of food or fluids or diarrhea, as you may be at risk of developing low levels of potassium in your blood while on LOKELMA; therefore, your dose of LOKELMA may need to be adjusted
- Your healthcare provider may monitor your potassium level and adjust your dose. Continue to take LOKELMA as directed by your healthcare provider
How to take LOKELMA at home
- Fill a drinking glass with approximately 3 tablespoons of water or more if desired
- Empty the entire contents of the LOKELMA packet(s) into the glass. Stir well and drink immediately
- If powder remains in the glass, add water, stir, and drink immediately. Repeat until no powder remains
- If desired, LOKELMA can be taken with or without food
- If you have been prescribed other oral medications, you may need to take them 2 hours before or 2 hours after taking LOKELMA as your healthcare provider prescribed
- LOKELMA may affect how some oral medicines work. Tell your healthcare provider or pharmacist about all your medications, including prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and herbal supplements
- Do not take LOKELMA on dialysis days
LOKELMA is tasteless and odorless
LOKELMA can cause swelling (edema) caused by fluid retention in your body (such as hands, ankles, feet).
- LOKELMA contains 400 mg of sodium in each 5 g dose. Watch for signs of swelling in your body especially if you limit sodium in your diet or are likely to have fluid retention in your body due to heart or kidney problems. Your doctor may tell you to reduce the sodium in your diet.
- If you are not on dialysis, your doctor may also tell you to increase the dose of your diuretic.
If you are a hemodialysis patient:
- Do not take LOKELMA on dialysis days.
- Tell your doctor if you suddenly feel sick such as decreased oral intake of food or fluids or diarrhea, as you may be at risk of developing low levels of potassium in your blood while on LOKELMA; therefore, your dose of LOKELMA may need to be adjusted.
The most common side effect of LOKELMA is swelling in your body caused by fluid retention. Tell your doctor if you have any side effects that bother you or do not go away.
Only your healthcare provider can tell if you should stop taking LOKELMA, or when you should stop taking it. In clinical studies with LOKELMA, ongoing treatment helped keep potassium levels within a normal range.
You should take LOKELMA exactly as prescribed for as long as it has been prescribed. If you have any questions, reach out to your healthcare provider.
Do not stop taking any prescribed medication unless directed by your healthcare provider. If you have been prescribed other oral medications, you may need to take them 2 hours before or 2 hours after taking LOKELMA as your healthcare provider prescribed. Talk to your healthcare provider about all other medications you are currently taking.
Before taking LOKELMA, tell your doctor about all your medical conditions, including:
- Problems having a bowel movement, including severe constipation, a blockage (obstruction) in your bowel, or dry hard stool that will not pass out of your rectum (impaction)
- Problems with your bowels after surgery