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Potassium chloride in glucose 5% parenteral


Infusion containing potassium chloride and glucose.

Drugs List

  • potassium chloride 0.15% (10mmol potassium) in glucose 5% 500ml infusion
  • potassium chloride 0.15% (20mmol potassium) in glucose 5% 1000ml infusion
  • potassium chloride 0.2% (13.5mmol potassium) in glucose 5% 500ml infusion
  • potassium chloride 0.2% (27mmol potassium) in glucose 5% 1000ml infusion
  • potassium chloride 0.3% (20mmol potassium) in glucose 5% 500ml infusion
  • potassium chloride 0.3% (40mmol potassium) in glucose 5% 1000ml infusion
  • Therapeutic Indications


    Electrolyte imbalance
    Hypokalaemia - severe


    Dosage depends on the age, weight, clinical and biological (acid-base balance) condition of the patient, concurrent therapies and the hydration state of the patient.

    High volume infusion should be accompanied by specific monitoring in patients with cardiac or pulmonary failure.

    Dosage and rate of infusion should be determined by ECG and serum electrolyte monitoring.


    Treatment of carbohydrate and fluid depletion
    500ml to 3 litres/24 hours.
    Rate: Maximum 5mg/kg/min.

    Prevention of potassium depletion
    Up to 50mmoles daily. The maximal recommended dose of potassium is 2 to 3mmol/kg/24 hours.

    Treatment of potassium depletion
    20mmoles of potassium over 2 to 3 hours (i.e. 7 to 10mmol/h) under ECG control.
    Rate: Maximum 15 to 20mmol/h.


    The infusion rate and volume depends on the age, weight, clinical and metabolic conditions of the patient, concomitant therapy and should be determined by the consulting physician experienced in paediatric intravenous fluid therapy.

    Treatment of carbohydrate and fluid depletion

    Weight more than 20kg: 1500ml + (20ml/kg over 20kg) per 24 hours.
    Weight between 10kg and 20kg: 1000ml + (50ml/kg over 10kg) per 24 hours.
    Weight less than 10kg: 100ml/kg per 24 hours.

    Maximum dose 10 to 18mg/kg/min depending on the age and the total body mass.


    Sterile and non-pyrogenic equipment should be used.

    Intravenous potassium should be administered via a large peripheral or central vein to reduce the risk of causing sclerosis. If infused through a central vein, ensure that the catheter is not in the atrium of ventricle in order to avoid localised hyperkalaemia.

    Solutions containing potassium should be administered slowly. Infusion rates greater than 500ml over three hours should be controlled by infusion pump.

    In order to avoid potentially fatal over infusion of intravenous fluids to the neonate, special attention needs to be paid to the method of administration. When using a syringe pump to administer intravenous fluids or medicines to neonates, a bag of fluid should not be left connected to the syringe. When using an infusion pump all clamps on the intravenous administration set must be closed before removing the administration set from the pump, or switching the pump off. This is required regardless of whether the administration set has an anti free flow device.

    The intravenous infusion device and administration equipment must be frequently monitored.


    Baseline serum potassium above 5 mmol/L
    Diabetic hyperosmolar coma
    Impaired glucose tolerance
    Recent head trauma
    Addison's disease
    Cardiac failure
    Recent cerebrovascular accident
    Severe renal impairment
    Uncontrolled diabetes mellitus

    Precautions and Warnings

    Cardiopulmonary disorder
    Adrenal insufficiency
    Cardiac disorder
    Diabetes mellitus
    Pulmonary oedema
    Raised intracranial pressure
    Renal impairment
    Severe dehydration

    Reduce dose in patients with renal impairment
    Initial IV potassium therapy should be in sodium chloride infusions only
    Avoid rapid infusion rates
    Do not give blood products in same intravenous line
    Diabetic control may need adjustment
    Ensure adequate hydration prior to infusion
    Monitor acid-base balance
    Monitor blood / urinary glucose concentrations in diabetic patients
    Monitor children closely for signs and symptoms of hyponatraemia
    Monitor creatinine, blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and urinary output
    Monitor ECG
    Monitor fluid and electrolyte status
    Monitor glucose closely during intracranial hypertension episodes
    Monitor renal function in patients with renal impairment
    Monitor serum glucose in newborns
    Monitor serum potassium regularly
    Discontinue if hypersensitivity reactions occur
    Discontinue if renal function deteriorates

    Infusion of solutions containing glucose could be contraindicated in the first 24 hours following head trauma.

    If hyperglycaemia occurs during therapy, reduce the rate of infusion or administer insulin.

    During long term therapy, a convenient nutritive treatment supply must be given to the patient.

    Stop treatment immediately if signs or symptoms of suspected hypersensitivity reaction develop. Appropriate counter measures should be initiated. Solutions containing dextrose should be used with caution in patients with known allergy to corn or corn products.

    Premature babies and those with low birth weight are at increased risk of developing hypoglycaemia or hyperglycaemia and therefore need close monitoring during treatment with intravenous glucose solutions to ensure adequate glycaemic control in order to avoid potential long term effects.

    Pregnancy and Lactation


    There are no concerns regarding the administration of glucose and potassium infusion during pregnancy provided maternal electrolyte serum levels are kept within the physiological range.

    Hyperkalaemic and hypokalaemic states lead to impaired cardiac function of the maternal and foetal hearts. Maternal electrolyte levels must therefore be controlled regularly.

    The use of all medication in pregnancy should be avoided whenever possible; particularly in the first trimester. Non-drug treatments should also be considered. When essential, a medication with the best safety record over time should be chosen, employing the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible time. Polypharmacy should be avoided. Teratogens taken in the pre-embryonic period, often quoted as lasting until 14 to 17 days post-conception, are believed to have an all-or-nothing effect. Where drugs have a short half-life, and when the date of conception is certain, this may allow women to be reassured where drug exposure has occurred within this time frame. Further advice may be available from the UK National Teratology Information Service (NTIS) and through ToxBase, available via password on the internet ( ) or if this is unavailable at the backup site ( ).


    The use of potassium containing products during breastfeeding is not considered to pose a hazard.

    Breast milk is naturally high in potassium with levels that are 3 to 4 times those in plasma. Because potassium passes freely in and out of milk, the use of potassium chloride by a lactating woman with normal plasma potassium levels would have no adverse effect on a nursing infant (Briggs 2015).

    Neonates, infants born prematurely, those with low birth weight, those with an unstable gastrointestinal function or who have serious illnesses may require special consideration. For any infant, if a drug is prescribed to the nursing mother, it should be at the lowest practical dose and for the shortest time. When drug administration is unavoidable and breastfeeding is to continue, minimisation of exposure of the infant to the drug may sometimes be achieved by timing the maternal doses to just after a feeding episode. Infants exposed to drugs via breast milk should be monitored for unusual signs or symptoms. Interactions between the drug received by the infant from the mother's milk and medication prescribed for the infant should also be considered, for example, when the drug given to the infant may prevent metabolism of the drug received via breast milk.
    Specialist advice is available from the UK Drugs in Lactation Advisory Service at

    Side Effects

    Anaphylactic reaction
    Cardiac arrest
    Heart block
    Heaviness or weakness of the legs
    Hypersensitivity reactions
    Irritation (injection site)
    Local infection at injection site
    Muscle paralysis
    Pain / soreness (injection site)
    Paraesthesia in extremities
    Peripheral coldness
    Phlebitis (injection site)
    Respiratory insufficiency
    Thrombosis (injection site)


    It is strongly recommended that the UK National Poisons Information Service be consulted on cases of suspected or actual overdose where there is doubt over the degree of risk or about appropriate management.

    The following number will direct the caller to the relevant local centre (0844) 892 0111

    Information may be obtained if you have access to ToxBase the primary clinical toxicology database of the National Poisons Information Service. This is available via password on the internet ( ) or if this is unavailable at the backup site ( ).

    Further Information

    Last Full Review Date: January 2018

    Reference Sources

    Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation: A Reference Guide to Foetal and Neonatal Risk, 10th edition (2015) ed. Briggs, G., Freeman, R. and Yaffe, S. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia.

    Summary of Product Characteristics: Potassium chloride 0.15% w/v and glucose 5% w/v solution for infusion. Baxter Healthcare Ltd. Revised June 2015.

    Summary of Product Characteristics: Potassium chloride 0.15% and glucose 5% Intravenous Infusion BP. Fresenius Kabi Ltd. Revised May 2015.

    Summary of Product Characteristics: Potassium chloride 0.15% w/v and glucose 5% w/v solution for infusion. Maco Pharma (UK) Ltd. Revised May 2009

    Summary of Product Characteristics: Potassium chloride 0.2% w/v and glucose 5% w/v IV Infusion BP, as Steriflex No.29 and freeflex. Fresenius Kabi Limited. Revised May 2005

    Summary of Product Characteristics: Potassium chloride 3mg/ml (0.3% w/v) and Glucose 50mg/ml (5% w/v) Solution for Infusion. B. Braun Melsungen AG. Revised July 2018.

    Summary of Product Characteristics: Potassium chloride 0.3% w/v and glucose 5% w/v Intravenous Infusion BP, as Steriflex No.16 or freeflex. Fresenius Kabi Limited. Revised June 2015

    Summary of Product Characteristics: Potassium chloride 0.3% w/v and glucose 5% w/v Solution for Infusion. Macopharma (UK) Ltd. Revised June 2015.

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