The Effects of Magnesium Coadminstration During Treatment of Hypokalemia in the Emergency Department.

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The Journal of emergency medicine


california; fullerton


BACKGROUND: Hypokalemia is a common disorder that can negatively affect organ function. Magnesium supplementation is frequently recommended despite limited evidence to support its use.

OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the clinical effects of magnesium coadministration in patients treated for hypokalemia in the emergency department (ED).

METHODS: This retrospective, single-center study evaluated adults treated with intravenous (i.v.) potassium for hypokalemia (serum potassium

RESULTS: Two hundred patients were included (MG+ = 100; MG- = 100). Patients in the MG- group more frequently had history of myocardial infarction (16% vs. 6%; p = 0.02) and alcoholism (16% vs. 6%; p = 0.02). Patients in the MG+ group had higher incidence of symptomatic hypokalemia (34% vs. 19%; p = 0.02) and severe hypokalemia (serum potassium < 2.5 mMol/L) (15% vs. 8%; p = 0.03). There were no differences in time to serum potassium normalization, change in serum potassium after treatment, or incidence of potassium normalization within 24 h of treatment. MG+ patients required more potassium within 24 h of treatment and more frequently developed hypermagnesemia (serum magnesium >1.1 mMol/L).

CONCLUSIONS: Magnesium coadministration during hypokalemia treatment did not affect time to serum potassium normalization but was associated with more hypermagnesemia.


Emergency Medicine