When should hypokalemia be corrected by oral supplementation?
Even though widely variable, in the absence of transcellular potassium shifts, the average serum potassium decreases by 0.3 mEq/L for each 100 mEq reduction in total body potassium stores. Oral or enteral administration is preferred when GI function is intact; the patient has mild (K + > 3 mEq/L) to moderate (K + 2.5 to 3 mEq/L) asymptomatic hypokalemia with normal kidney function. Oral KCl can be given at 10 to 20 mEq PO thrice daily for mild and 40 to 60 mEq PO thrice daily for moderate hypokalemia. If ongoing losses are present, these doses can be scheduled. The serum K + should be checked frequently and supplementation stopped or adjusted.