Risk Factor: A
Fetal Risk Summary
Potassium chloride is a natural constituent of human tissues and fluids. Exogenous potassium chloride may be indicated as replacement therapy for pregnant women with low serum potassium levels, such as those receiving diuretics. Because high or low levels are detrimental to maternal and fetal cardiac function, serum levels should be closely monitored.
In a surveillance study of Michigan Medicaid recipients involving 229,101 completed pregnancies conducted between 1985 and 1992, 35 newborns had been exposed to oral potassium salts during the 1st trimester (F. Rosa, personal communication, FDA, 1993). One (2.9%) infant with major birth defects was observed (one expected), a case of limb reduction and hypospadias.
Breast Feeding Summary
Human milk is naturally low in potassium (1). If maternal serum levels are maintained in a physiologic range, no harm will result in the nursing infant from the administration of potassium chloride to the mother.
- Wilson JT. Production and characteristics of breast milk. In Wilson JT, ed. Drugs in Breast Milk. Balgowlah, Australia: ADIS Press, 1981:12.