Liquid and solid formulations of potassium chloride (KCl) are widely used clinically. Enteric coated KCl preparations have occasionally produced intestinal ulceration, haemorrhage, obstruction, or even death. They were withdrawn from the market in 1965. Subsequently, wax-matrix slow-release KCl tablets were developed. Although these products were considered safe, gastrointestinal complications such as ulceration, haemorrhage, obstruction, and perforation have been reported. The effects of a new microencapsulated potassium chloride formulation on upper gastrointestinal tract mucosa was compared with that of a popular wax-matrix formulation in 48 healthy volunteers. After a week of KCl, subjects were gastroscoped, the endoscopist being blind to the type of preparation taken. Wax-matrix formulations were associated with a higher incidence of upper gastrointestinal lesions. The lesions were not accompanied by epigastric symptoms. Glycopyrrolate, given to some volunteers to decrease gastric emptying, aggravated the effects of potassium chloride.
ASJC Scopus subject areas