Profound muscle weakness and hypokalemia due to clay ingestion

South Med J. 1988 Feb;81(2):272-4. doi: 10.1097/00007611-198802000-00033.


We have presented the case of a 43-year-old woman with severe myositis due to clay ingestion and hypokalemia. EMG studies revealed a pattern consistent with myositis, and muscle biopsy showed a nonspecific diffuse myositis. The clay was shown to act as a potassium binder. With potassium replacement and discontinuance of clay ingestion, the symptoms and signs abated and laboratory values returned to normal.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aluminum Silicates*
  • Clay
  • Electromyography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypokalemia / etiology*
  • Muscles / pathology
  • Myositis / etiology*
  • Myositis / pathology
  • Myositis / physiopathology
  • Pica / complications*


  • Aluminum Silicates
  • Clay