1 What is Kayexalate?

Brand: Kayexalate, Kionex.

Generic: Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate

Kayexalate is used to treat abnormally high levels of potassium in the body.

Potassium is an important micronutrient and electrolyte in cells. Potassium levels can become abnormally high due to kidney disease, problems in the adrenal glands, having type-1 diabetes, sustaining burns or other severe injuries, a side effect of medicines like heart medications and alcoholism.

High potassium levels are called hyperkalemia, and it can result in abnormal heart rate rhythms, muscle weakness, and paralysis. In most disease processes, hyperkalemia is a serious and potentially life-threatening disorder.

Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate works in the intestines. As it passes through the intestines, it causes the release of potassium from the bloodstream into the intestines, causing potassium levels in the body to go down.

Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate is a prescription medication.

Rarely, Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate can cause intestinal necrosis or death of tissues in the intestines. Patients using Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate require close monitoring of potassium and other electrolytes such as magnesium and calcium.

Only use Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate in accordance with doctor’s instructions.

2 What to know before using

Before using Kayexalate, you must know all about the risks and complications associated with it.

If you experienced allergies to Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate before, tell it to your doctor. You cannot use Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate if you are allergic to it.

Note that you cannot use Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate if you have low potassium levels or have conditions that cause blockage of the digestive tract.

Make sure to tell the doctor all of your health problems before receiving Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate.

The doctor will need to know if you have health conditions such as:

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Use of medicines that suppresses the immune system (immunosuppressants) such as corticosteroids, drugs used for cancer and organ transplant procedures
  • Having chronic or severe constipation
  • Presently having or history of bowel problems like malabsorption, inflammatory bowel disease or bleeding
  • Diseases of the kidney, or if you are on a dialysis
  • Recent or presently having electrolyte imbalances
  • Fluid retention or swelling
  • History of sustaining severe burns
  • Have ever had surgery in the intestines
  • If you are dehydrated
  • If you are on a low-salt diet

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, tell it to your doctor before receiving Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate. The safety of Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate to unborn babies is not fully understood. Ask your doctor if it is safe to breastfeed while receiving Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate.

Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate must be used very carefully in children and infants.

You need to tell the doctor all the medicines you take before receiving Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate.

The doctor will need to know if you use the following medicines:

  • Antacids
  • Laxatives
  • Aspirin
  • Digitalis
  • Lithium
  • Thyroid hormones like levothyroxine
  • Acetaminophen
  • Proton pump inhibitor drugs like Omeprazole, Lansoprazole, Esomeprazole, and Pantoprazole
  • Drugs that prevent vomiting
  • Sorbitol
  • Magaldrate
  • Meloxicam
  • Amiodarone
  • Pimozide
  • Dofetilide
  • Ziprasidone

3 Proper usage

To use Kayexalate properly, you must follow all instructions given by your doctor.

Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate preparations are available as a suspension for oral administration and as an enema.

The doctor will determine your dose of Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate and health professionals will prepare the medication. It can be mixed with water, sweet syrup, honey or jam. For Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate suspension, it is usually given one to three times daily.

If you prepare Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate, a health professional will teach you to do it correctly. Take care not to inhale the powder.

Keep taking Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate as prescribed. Continue taking even if you start to feel better.

The doctor will order regular tests to know if Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate is effective and how long to treat you.

If you missed a dose of Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate, take it as soon as you remember. Taking too much Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate can cause an overdose.

Overdose can cause symptoms such as confusion, irritability, trouble thinking and muscle weakness. IF you took too much Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate, call the doctor and local poison control hotlines.

Keep Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate away from heat, moisture and light.

4 Precautions to take

Before using Kayexalate, there are some precautions you must take.

Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate can affect absorption rates of ingested drugs. Avoid taking other oral medications 6 hours before or 6 hours after taking Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate.

Taking Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate with Sorbitol can increase the risk of intestinal rupture or necrosis. Sorbitol is often used as sweetener and additive in dental products like toothpaste, supplements, and sugar-free food items. Avoid these products when receiving Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate.

Avoid taking potassium supplement when receiving Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate unless directed by your doctor.

Unless instructed by your doctor, do not use any laxatives or antacids while receiving Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate.

5 Potential side effects

As with many medications, there are several potential side effects associated with Kayexalate.

Call your doctor if you experienced these side effects:

  • Severe allergic reaction symptoms such as hives, skin itching, hoarseness, swelling of the lips, mouth, tongue or throat
  • Too low potassium level symptoms such as leg cramps, constipation, irregular heartbeats, tingling or numbness, muscle weakness or having a limp, thirst and increased urination
  • Too low calcium level symptoms such as numbness or tingling sensation around the mouth, fast or slow heart rate, unusual muscle tightness, involuntary muscle contractions, muscle weakness or having a limp
  • Stomach bleeding signs such as bloody or tarry stools, coughing up blood or vomiting material that looks like coffee grounds
  • Pain in the stomach
  • Pain in the rectum
  • Fever, chills, and vomiting

Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate may cause the following minor side effects:

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