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Potassium citrate for cystitis

Cystopurin, Effercitrate

If you are pregnant or have a medical condition, you should always contact 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 with your doctor for further advice.

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About potassium citrate

Type of medicine

An alkalinising agent

Used for

Mild urinary tract infections such as cystitis

Also called

Cystopurin®; Effercitrate®

Available as

Sachets 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, male or have a medical condition, you should always consult a doctor if you think you have cystitis because you may need to be treated with antibiotics. Men are advised to drink at least one litre of water and seek medical attention if symptoms last longer than three hours

Before taking potassium citrate

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 you have a problem with the way your kidneys work.

  • 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, as well as herbal and complementary medicines.

  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.

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How to take potassium citrate

  • 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 - 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.

Getting the most from your treatment

  • If your symptoms do not improve within two days of taking potassium citrate, or if you develop a high temperature, you should contact 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 is often sufficient.

  • If your symptoms recur within two weeks, you should make an appointment with your doctor for further advice.

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Can potassium citrate cause problems?

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 becomes troublesome, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

Potassium citrate side-effects

What can I do if I experience this?

Stomach upset

Take 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.

How to store potassium citrate

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.

  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.

Important information about all medicines

Important information about all medicines

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.

Report side effects to a medicine or vaccine

If you experience side effects, you can report them online through the Yellow Card website.

Further reading and references

Article history

The information on this page is written and peer reviewed by qualified clinicians.

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