Font Size

Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: Kalexate, Kayexalate, Kionex

Generic Name: sodium polystyrene sulfonate (Pronunciation: SOE dee um pol ee STEER een SUL foe nate)

What is sodium polystyrene sulfonate (Kalexate, Kayexalate, Kionex)?

Sodium polystyrene sulfonate affects the exchange of sodium and potassium in the body.

Sodium polystyrene sulfonate is used to treat high levels of potassium in the blood, also called hyperkalemia.

Sodium polystyrene sulfonate may also be used for purposes other than those listed here.

What are the possible side effects of sodium polystyrene sulfonate (Kalexate, Kayexalate, Kionex)?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Tell your caregivers right away if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • pain or fluttering in your chest;
  • uneven heartbeats;
  • feeling irritable or confused;
  • increased thirst or urination;
  • severe muscle weakness;
  • inability to move your muscles;
  • black, bloody, or tarry stools;
  • pain in your lower stomach or rectum; or
  • swelling, rapid weight gain.

Less serious side effects may include:

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Tell your doctor about any unusual or bothersome side effect. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is the most important information I should know about sodium polystyrene sulfonate (Kalexate, Kayexalate, Kionex)?

Sodium polystyrene sulfonate can be given as a liquid by mouth, through a stomach feeding tube, or as a rectal enema. This medication is usually given 1 to 4 times daily by a healthcare professional in a hospital setting.

If possible, before you receive this medication, tell your doctor if you have a bowel obstruction, low blood levels of potassium, heart disease or high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, edema (water weight gain), kidney disease, or if you are constipated or on a low-salt diet.

In an emergency situation, it may not be possible before you are treated with sodium polystyrene sulfonate to tell your caregivers about any health conditions you have or if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. However, make sure any doctor caring for your pregnancy or your baby knows that you have received this medication.

Tell your caregivers right away if you have any signs that your potassium level is getting too low, such as: pain or fluttering in your chest, uneven heartbeats, feeling irritable or confused, severe muscle weakness, breathing problems, or inability to move your muscles.

Tell your doctor if you also take digoxin (digitalis, Lanoxin), lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid), thyroxine, or a diuretic (water pill).

Do not use salt substitutes or take potassium or calcium supplements unless your doctor has told you to. Avoid using antacids or laxatives without your doctor's advice.

You will need to keep using this medication even if you feel fine. Hyperkalemia often has no symptoms that you will notice.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Pill Identifier Tool

Need help identifying pills and medications?
Use the pill finder tool on RxList.

Medical Dictionary