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Forum Name: Pharmacy & Drug Topics

Question: How much potassium will affect you with Micardis HCT?


 lilscoop1981 - Wed Apr 01, 2009 11:51 am

I am taking Micardis HCT (80-25) for hypertension. The label says to avoid potassium supplements. I am currently drinking 2 Slim-Fast drinks a day, each with 550 mg of potassium (1100 mg total daily). Will this cause any harm? Thank you for your help!
 John Kenyon, CNA - Tue May 19, 2009 11:22 pm

User avatar Hi there --

First, the amount of potassium (K) in the two Slim Fast drinks is about what one would find in a healthy meal, and about the same as a single over-the-counter K supplement sold in health stores. In other words, it wouldn't really count as a K supplement any more than eating the occasional banana might. In fact, hydrochlorothiazide (the diuretic part of Micardis HCT) can cause loss of K, and so the warning to avoid potassium supplements might seem counterintutive. The reason for it is that when a person using HCTZ develops low K levels this should be corrected by prescription K supplement under the direction of a doctor, and OTC potassium supplements could add too much to the mix, since this would then be a form of self-medication and it's difficult to guage the amount to take using unregulated supplemental forms.

In short, no problem with the Slim Fast, just don't use over-the-counter K supplements while taking this drug, only prescrption type, if it should be needed. Your doctor should periodically check your K level just to be sure it's okay. Usually there's no need to add any, if general nutrition is good.

Hope this answers your question. Good luck to you.

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