Intravenous treatment of hypokalemic periodic paralysis

Arch Neurol. 1983 Sep;40(9):539-40. doi: 10.1001/archneur.1983.04050080039005.


Acute attacks of weakness in patients with hypokalemic periodic paralysis can usually be treated with oral potassium preparations. Occasional patients, however, require intravenous (IV) potassium administration. We studied a patient with hypokalemic periodic paralysis to determine the effect of using 5% glucose as a diluent for potassium administration during acute attacks of weakness. Administration of IV potassium chloride in 5% glucose (50 mEq/L) was associated with a worsening of strength and no rise in potassium level. Intravenous potassium in 5% mannitol was associated with a rise in potassium and improvement in strength. This study confirms the hazard of using glucose-containing solutions for correction of hypokalemia.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Glucose / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Hypokalemia / complications*
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Male
  • Mannitol / therapeutic use
  • Paralysis / drug therapy*
  • Paralysis / etiology
  • Periodicity*
  • Potassium Chloride / administration & dosage*
  • Potassium Chloride / therapeutic use
  • Solutions


  • Solutions
  • Mannitol
  • Potassium Chloride
  • Glucose