DRUG NEWS: Hyperkalemia alert

November 2004 
Volume 34  Number 11
Pages 30 - 30
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    Patients taking angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors such as lisinopril (Zestril) or angiotensin-receptor blockers such as irbesartan (Avapro) for hypertension and other cardiovascular conditions should be carefully monitored for potassium overload, according to researchers. About 10% of patients taking ACE inhibitors develop hyperkalemia within a year after the drugs are prescribed. Patients with kidney problems and diabetes are particularly at risk. Signs and symptoms of hyperkalemia include diminished deep tendon reflexes, weakness, palpitations, and arrhythmias.

    Patients taking these drugs should avoid taking other drugs and products that impair potassium excretion, including the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs ibuprofen and naproxen, and herbal remedies containing potassium. Teach patients to avoid foods that are high in potassium, such as orange juice, melons, bananas, and salt substitutes.


    “Managing ...

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