Neonatal Drug Therapy Manual

Potassium Chloride

Disclaimer: Official controlled document is the CHEO and Ottawa Hospital online copy. It is the responsibility of user to ensure that any paper copy version is the same as the online version before use.

Alternate Name(s): 
Original Date: 
June 1996
Revised Date: 
October 2010
  • Treatment/prevention of hypokalemia
  • IV intermittent infusion: In Critical Care Areas at CHEO (PICU, NICU)

Central line only:

  • Usual dilution: 0.5 mmol/mL = 500 mmol/L in D5W
  • Infusion rate: 0.5 mmol/kg/hr (maximum dose/rate: 1 mmol/kg over 2 hours)
  •  IV continuous infusion

Peripheral line:

  • Usual dilution: 20 - 40 mmol/L
    • (CHEO maximum: 60 mmol/L)   (TOH maximum: 40 mmol/L)
  • Infusion rates: normally less than 0.25 mmol/kg/hr & do not exceed 0.5 mmol/kg/hr

Central line:

  • Usual dilution: 20 - 60 mmol/L
    • (CHEO maximum: 160 mmol/L)    (TOH maximum: 60 mmol/L)
  • Infusion rates: normally less than 0.25 mmol/kg/hr & do not exceed 0.5 mmol/kg/hr
  •  PO
  • Acute hypokalemia:
    •  0.5 - 1 mmol/kg IV over 2 hours (maximum rate: 0.5 mmol/kg/hr) or PO

** For serum potassium < 2.5 mmol/L, attending neonatalogist on call should be notified

  • Maintenance: 2 - 3 mmol/kg/day IV/PO
Side Effects: 
  • CVS: arrhythmias/arrest with rapid IV infusion, hypotension
  • Endocrine and metabolic: hyperkalemia
  • GI: diarrhea, vomiting with oral use
  • Local: thrombophlebitis/pain at peripheral IV site
Parameters to Monitor: 
  • BP, HR
  • GI intolerance
  • Injection site
  • Potassium levels



- Solutions Compatible : D5W, D10W, dextose-saline combinations, 0.9% NaCl

- Y-site Compatible: acyclovir, ampicillin, dobutamine, dopamine, fentanyl, furosemide,  midazolam, morphine, sodium bicarbonate

Incompatible: amphotericin B, phenytoin


For serum potassium < 2.5 mmol/L, attending neonatologist on call should be notified


- Taketomo CK, Hodding JH, Kraus DM. Pediatric Dosage Handbook 17th Edition. Hudson: Lexi-Comp Inc; 2010

- Trissel LA.  Handbook on Injectable Drugs 15th Edition. Bethesda, Maryland; American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. 2009

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