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Potassium citrate for cystitis (Cystopurin, Effercitrate, Cymaclear)

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If you are pregnant or have a medical condition, you should always see a doctor if you think you have cystitis.

Follow the dosage instructions on the label of the pack. If your symptoms do not improve within two days of taking potassium citrate, you should make an appointment to see your doctor for further advice.

Type of medicineAn alkalinising agent
Used forMild urinary tract infections such as cystitis
Also calledCystopurin®; Effercitrate®; Cymaclear®
Available asSachets of powder, effervescent tablets, and oral mixture

Cystitis means inflammation of the bladder. It is usually caused by a urine infection. Typical symptoms are pain when you pass urine and passing urine more frequently. Your urine may also become cloudy and smelly. It is particularly common in women. A short course of antibiotics may be prescribed for you, although mild cases often improve on their own without the need for any treatment as your own immune system can often clear the infection.

Potassium citrate is a product that is sometimes recommended for the treatment of mild cystitis. It may help to relieve the discomfort, although there is no strong evidence of its benefit. It works by making the urine less acidic. It can be bought without a prescription at pharmacies and other retail outlets.

Note: if you are pregnant or have a medical condition, you should always see a doctor if you think you have cystitis because you will need to be treated with antibiotics.

To make sure that this is the right treatment for you, before you start taking potassium citrate it is important that you speak with a doctor or pharmacist:

  • If you are pregnant.
  • If your kidneys do not work well.
  • If you have a heart condition, or any other serious medical condition.
  • If you are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
  • Before you start the treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about the specific product you have been given and how to take it.
  • Please follow the dosage instructions on the label of the pack. Take your doses after meals. The following guidelines are adult doses:
    • Effervescent tablets (brand Effercitrate®) - take two tablets, up to three times a day. Take the tablets dissolved into a whole glassful of water.
    • Liquid medicine (brand Cymaclear®) - take two 5 ml spoonfuls, stirred into a whole glassful of water. You can take up to three doses a day.
    • Sachets (brand Cystopurin®) - empty the contents of one sachet into a whole glassful of water. Stir it well before drinking. Take one sachet, three times daily.
  • If your symptoms do not improve within two days of taking potassium citrate, or if you develop a high temperature, you should see your doctor.
  • You might find it helpful to ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller. Paracetamol or ibuprofen can also help to ease the pain and discomfort of cystitis.
  • Although it has been said that drinking lots of water may be helpful, there is little evidence for this. Some doctors feel that it does not help and drinking lots may just cause more painful toilet trips. You should follow the directions on the label for taking your potassium citrate preparation with water; however, other than this, drinking normal amounts of fluid are often sufficient.
  • If your symptoms recur within two weeks, you should make an appointment to see your doctor for further advice.

Recommended doses of potassium citrate are unlikely to cause any side-effects other than making you want to pass a little more urine than normal, and maybe a mild stomach upset. If either of these become troublesome, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

Potassium citrate side-effectsWhat can I do if I experience this?
Stomach upsetTake your doses diluted with plenty of water, after meals

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to the medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.

Never take more than the recommended dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of the medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.

If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.

Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.

If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

Further reading & references

  • British National Formulary; 69th Edition (Mar 2015) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.

Original Author:
Helen Allen
Current Version:
Peer Reviewer:
Dr John Cox
Document ID:
3222 (v25)
Last Checked:
Next Review:
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