Why is potassium scored?

  1. Potassium has to be given whole, right? It can't be crushed or broken in half, I thought.

    Another nurse was challenging me on this & she asked me if that's true, then why are the pills scored?

    Any thoughts?
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    About RNfromMN

    Joined: Nov '06; Posts: 428; Likes: 84
    Registered Nurse - LTC
    Specialty: 4 year(s) of experience in Developmental Disabilities, LTC


  3. by   leslie :-D
    k+ can be broken in half.
    they just can't be crushed/chewed.

  4. by   ElvishDNP
    what leslie said.
  5. by   RNfromMN

    Well, in that case...seems I have quite a few patients to apologize to on Monday

    Thanks you guys!
  6. by   ElvishDNP
    Chalk it up as the new thing you learned today. I could tell you mine but it's OT for this thread.
  7. by   NurseFreshMeat
    According to www.drugs.com, K-Dur can be dissolved which makes me wonder about the no crushing rule.

    Patients having difficulty swallowing whole tablets may try one of the following alternate methods of administration:
    1. Break the tablet in half, and take each half separately with a glass of water.
    2. Prepare an aqueous (water) suspension as follows:
      1. Place the whole tablet(s) in approximately glass of water (4 fluid ounces).
      2. Allow approximately 2 minutes for the tablet(s) to disintegrate.
      3. Stir for about half a minute after the tablet(s) has disintegrated.
      4. Swirl the suspension and consume the entire contents of the glass immediately by drinking or by the use of a straw.
      5. Add another 1 fluid ounce of water, swirl, and consume immediately.
      6. Then, add an additional 1 fluid ounce of water, swirl, and consume immediately.
    Last edit by NurseFreshMeat on Nov 30, '08 : Reason: make post easier to read
  8. by   pricklypear
    I can't even begin to remember how many times I've crushed or broken K+. I've never heard that it shouldn't be crushed. I've always ordered it in suspension form for g-tube/dobhoff administration as the crushed form is granulated. Only time released or extended release meds should not be crushed.
  9. by   ElvishDNP
    Isn't K-dur extended release potassium? That's why I've never given it crushed. Most of my pts don't have swallowing issues so have never had to worry about crushing or dissolving. Haven't had to worry about it for about 6 years now.
  10. by   Aneroo
    It depends on what type you're giving- Kdur or Klor. Different absortion rates, one is dissolved, the other extended release and can't be crushed.
  11. by   AirforceRN
    I asked the pharmacist at the hospital about disolving Kdur in water. She told me that Kdur is essentially made up of many little "beads" of potassium, which dissolve over a period of time. Crushing the pills will destroy the beads rendering the long-acting properties useless. Dissolving the pill in water, however, will break the pill apart (quite readily actually) and the beads will remain intact and retain their slow dissolving properties...
    So, in short, dissolve the pill in water, don't crush it.
  12. by   Virgo_RN
    I break them in half all the time. Those things could choke a horse.
  13. by   Justhere
    This is what I found on the drugs.com on K-Dur
    Do not crush, chew, break, or suck on an extended-release tablet or capsule. Swallow the pill whole. Breaking or crushing the pill may cause too much of the drug to be released at one time. Sucking on a potassium tablet can irritate your mouth or throat.
    Take K-Dur with food or just after a meal.

    Take Micro-K with meals and with a full glass of water or some other liquid.
    Tell your doctor if you have difficulty swallowing Micro-K. You may sprinkle the contents of the capsule onto a spoonful of soft food. Capsules and tablets should not be crushed, chewed, or sucked.

    If you need to crush it you may need to see if you can order the Powder exp: Gen-K or Klor-con those can be placed in liquid to take