How is hypokalemic periodic paralyses (HypoPP) treated?

Updated: Apr 30, 2018
  • Author: Naganand Sripathi, MD; Chief Editor: Nicholas Lorenzo, MD, MHA, CPE  more...
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During attacks, oral potassium supplementation is preferable to IV supplementation. The latter is reserved for patients who are nauseated or unable to swallow. Potassium chloride is the preferred agent for an acute attack (assuming a normal renal function). [17] A reasonable initial dose for a 60-120 kg man (ie, 0.5-1 mEq/kg) is 60 mEq. Typically, 40-60 mEq of K+ raises the potassium concentration by 1.0-1.5 mEq/L, and 135-160 mEq of K+ raises plasma potassium by 2.5-3.5 mEq/L. Aqueous potassium is favored for quicker results. If there is no response in 30 minutes, an additional 0.3 mEq/kg may be given. This should be repeated up to 100 mEq of potassium. Beyond this, monitoring of serum potassium is warranted prior to further supplementation. Typically, one should not exceed a total dose of 200 mEq in a day.

Intravenous potassium is reserved for cardiac arrhythmia or airway compromise due to ictal dysphagia or accessory respiratory muscle paralysis. IV potassium chloride 0.05-0.1 mEq/kg body weight in 5% mannitol as a bolus is preferable to continuous infusion. Mannitol should be used as solvent, as both sodium and dextrose worsen the attack. Only 10 mEq at a time should be infused with intervals of 20-60 minutes, unless in situations of cardiac arrhythmia or respiratory compromise. This is to avoid hyperkalemia at the end of an attack with shift of potassium from intracellular compartment into the blood. Continuous ECG monitoring and sequential serum potassium measurements are mandatory.

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