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Kalexate (Generic Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate)

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Why is this medication prescribed?

Sodium polystyrene sulfonate is a medication that is primarily prescribed for the treatment of high levels of potassium in the blood, a condition known as hyperkalemia. It is commonly used in individuals with kidney disease or those taking medications that can increase potassium levels, such as certain blood pressure medications or potassium supplements.

Hyperkalemia can be a serious medical condition that can lead to abnormal heart rhythms and other complications. Sodium polystyrene sulfonate works by binding to potassium in the gastrointestinal tract, preventing its absorption and promoting its elimination through the feces. By reducing potassium levels in the blood, this medication helps restore normal potassium balance and prevent potential health risks associated with hyperkalemia.

How should this medicine be used?

Sodium polystyrene sulfonate is typically administered orally or rectally, depending on the formulation prescribed by the healthcare professional. Here are the general guidelines for its use:

  • Oral Administration: If the medication is prescribed in oral form (powder or suspension), it is usually mixed with a small amount of water or a sweetened liquid. Follow the specific instructions provided by your healthcare provider or the product label. It is important to shake the suspension well before use. Drink the mixture immediately after preparation.
  • Rectal Administration: If the medication is prescribed in rectal form (enema), it is typically administered using an enema applicator. Follow the specific instructions provided by your healthcare provider or the product label. Retain the enema in the rectum for the recommended period before expelling it.

It is important to adhere to the prescribed dosage and administration schedule. Do not take more than the recommended dose or use it more frequently than instructed by your healthcare professional. If you have any doubts or questions regarding the proper use of sodium polystyrene sulfonate, consult your doctor or pharmacist for clarification.

Remember to inform your healthcare provider about any other medications you are taking, as sodium polystyrene sulfonate may interact with certain drugs, potentially affecting their effectiveness or causing adverse effects.

Other uses for this medicine

While the primary use of sodium polystyrene sulfonate is for the treatment of hyperkalemia, there have been some off-label uses of the medication. These off-label uses may include:

  • Reduction of elevated serum lithium levels: Sodium polystyrene sulfonate may be used to help lower abnormally high levels of lithium in the blood.
  • Treatment of certain types of poisoning: In some cases, sodium polystyrene sulfonate may be used as part of the management of poisoning caused by certain substances, such as certain types of drugs or toxins.

What special precautions should I follow?

Regarding precautions, here are some important considerations for the use of sodium polystyrene sulfonate:

  • Allergy or hypersensitivity: Inform your healthcare provider if you have a known allergy or hypersensitivity to sodium polystyrene sulfonate or any of its components. Allergic reactions to the medication are rare but can occur.
  • Gastrointestinal disorders: If you have a history of gastrointestinal disorders, such as bowel obstruction or severe constipation, caution should be exercised when using sodium polystyrene sulfonate. It may worsen these conditions or cause gastrointestinal side effects.
  • Electrolyte imbalances: Sodium polystyrene sulfonate can affect other electrolyte levels, such as calcium, magnesium, and sodium. Close monitoring of electrolyte levels is essential, especially in individuals with underlying electrolyte imbalances or conditions such as heart failure or kidney disease.
  • Medication interactions: Sodium polystyrene sulfonate can interact with other medications, including oral medications and certain laxatives. It may affect the absorption and effectiveness of these drugs. Inform your healthcare provider about all the medications you are taking to prevent potential interactions.

Always follow the instructions provided by your healthcare professional and carefully read the medication’s package insert for specific precautions and warnings. It is crucial to have regular check-ups and laboratory tests to monitor your condition and ensure the safe and effective use of sodium polystyrene sulfonate.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Regarding special dietary instructions for Kadcyla, it’s generally recommended to follow a healthy, well-balanced diet unless your healthcare provider advises otherwise. It’s important to maintain proper nutrition and hydration during your treatment. However, some medications may interact with certain foods or beverages, so it’s always a good idea to discuss any dietary concerns or restrictions with your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

If you forget to take a dose of sodium polystyrene sulfonate, take it as soon as you remember, unless it is close to the time for your next scheduled dose. In that case, skip the missed dose and resume your regular dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to make up for a missed one.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Sodium polystyrene sulfonate, like any medication, can cause side effects in some individuals. The frequency and severity of these side effects can vary. Common side effects of sodium polystyrene sulfonate may include:

  • Gastrointestinal effects: These may include constipation, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. These effects are related to the medication’s action in the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Electrolyte imbalances: Sodium polystyrene sulfonate can affect electrolyte levels, such as decreasing calcium levels or increasing sodium levels. This may lead to symptoms such as muscle twitching, weakness, or changes in heart rhythm.
  • Intestinal necrosis: Although rare, sodium polystyrene sulfonate has been associated with a serious condition called intestinal necrosis, which is characterized by damage to the intestinal lining. This is more likely to occur in individuals with a history of gastrointestinal conditions or those who take the medication for prolonged periods or at high doses.
  • Allergic reactions: Allergic reactions to sodium polystyrene sulfonate are rare but can occur. Symptoms may include rash, itching, swelling, severe dizziness, or difficulty breathing. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any signs of an allergic reaction.

It is important to promptly report any side effects or concerns to your healthcare provider. They can assess your symptoms and make appropriate recommendations. If you experience severe or persistent side effects, seek medical attention right away.

This list does not include all possible side effects. For a comprehensive and personalized understanding of the potential side effects of sodium polystyrene sulfonate, consult with your healthcare provider or refer to the medication’s package insert.

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?


  • Store sodium polystyrene sulfonate according to the instructions provided by the manufacturer or on the medication’s packaging.
  • Generally, it should be stored at room temperature, away from moisture, heat, and direct light.
  • Keep it out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Do not use sodium polystyrene sulfonate after the expiration date mentioned on the packaging.


  • Properly dispose of unused or expired sodium polystyrene sulfonate in accordance with local regulations or guidelines.
  • Do not flush the medication down the toilet or pour it into a drain, unless specifically instructed to do so by your local waste management authority.
  • Consult your pharmacist or healthcare provider for guidance on how to safely dispose of sodium polystyrene sulfonate.

In case of emergency/overdose

  • In case of an emergency or suspected overdose, immediately contact your local emergency services or poison control center.
  • Symptoms of an overdose may include severe constipation, intestinal blockage, electrolyte imbalances, or other severe adverse reactions.
  • If possible, provide healthcare professionals with information about the medication and the amount ingested.

What other information should I know?

  • Attend regular check-ups and laboratory tests as directed by your healthcare provider to monitor your condition and response to sodium polystyrene sulfonate.
  • Inform all healthcare professionals involved in your care that you are taking sodium polystyrene sulfonate, including doctors, dentists, and pharmacists.
  • It’s important to disclose your full medical history, including any pre-existing conditions or allergies, to your healthcare provider before starting sodium polystyrene sulfonate.
  • Mention all other medications, supplements, or herbal products you are taking to your healthcare provider, as they may interact with sodium polystyrene sulfonate.

Remember, this information is not exhaustive, and it is important to follow the specific instructions provided by your healthcare provider and the medication’s packaging. If you have any further questions or concerns about sodium polystyrene sulfonate, consult your healthcare provider or pharmacist for personalized advice.

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