Health Guide

Sodium polystyrene sulfonate (Into the rectum)

Sodium Polystyrene Sulfonate (SOE-dee-um pol-ee-STYE-reen SUL-foe-nate)

Treats hyperkalemia (high levels of potassium in the blood).

Brand Name(s):

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

This medicine is not right for everyone. Do not use it if you had an allergic reaction to sodium polystyrene sulfonate, or if you have bowel blockage. This medicine should not be given to newborn infants who have slow bowel movements.

How to Use This Medicine:

Enema, Liquid

  • Your doctor will tell you how much medicine to use. Do not use more than directed.
  • A nurse or other trained health professional will give you the Kayexalate® enema in a hospital.
  • Carefully follow your doctor's instructions about any special diet.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Some medicines can affect how sodium polystyrene sulfonate works. Tell your doctor if you are also using digoxin, digitoxin, lithium, sorbitol, thyroxine, or antacids or laxatives that contain aluminum or magnesium.
  • Use this medicine at least 3 hours before or after taking oral medicines. If your stomach takes too long to empty food (gastroparesis), use this medicine 6 hours before or after taking oral medicines.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have kidney disease, heart rhythm problems (including arrhythmia, QT prolongation), heart failure, high blood pressure, severe swelling or bloating, or a history of stomach or bowel problems (including constipation) or surgery. Tell your doctor if you are on a low-salt diet or if you do not have any bowel movements after a surgery.
  • This medicine may cause the following problems:
    • Bowel problems (including necrosis, bleeding, constipation, perforation)
    • Electrolyte imbalance
    • Increased risk for bronchitis or bronchopneumonia when the powder form is inhaled
  • Your doctor will do lab tests at regular visits to check on the effects of this medicine. Keep all appointments.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Bloody, black, or tarry stools
  • Chest pain, cough, difficulty breathing
  • Dry mouth, increased thirst, muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting
  • Fast or uneven heartbeat
  • Muscle cramps in your hands, arms, feet, legs, or face
  • Muscle spasms or twitching
  • Rapid weight gain, swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet
  • Seizures
  • Severe constipation or stomach pain
  • Trouble thinking clearly, or feeling confused or grouchy
  • Unusual weakness
  • Vomiting of blood or material that looks like coffee grounds

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Mild constipation, diarrhea, loss of appetite, or stomach upset

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Last Updated: 7/4/2018
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