Sodium polystyrene sulfonate

By Medically reviewed by hellodoktor

Generic Name: Sodium polystyrene sulfonate Brand Name(s): Generics only. No brands available.


What is Sodium polystyrene sulfonate used for?

Sodium polystyrene sulfonate is used to treat a high level of potassium in your blood. Too much potassium in your blood can sometimes cause heart rhythm problems. Sodium polystyrene sulfonate works by helping your body get rid of extra potassium.

How should I take Sodium polystyrene sulfonate?

Take this medication by mouth, or use it rectally as directed by your doctor.

If you are taking this medication by mouth, take it usually 1 to 4 times a day as directed by your doctor. To prepare the liquid suspension, carefully measure the prescribed dose of the powder and mix it with the prescribed amount of water or flavored syrup as directed. Stir well and drink the entire dose. Stay upright (sitting, standing, or walking) and do not lie down for at least an hour after your dose. Consult your doctor for details.

Sodium polystyrene sulfonate may decrease your absorption of other medications. Take your other medications as directed by your doctor, usually at least 3 hours before or 3 hours after sodium polystyrene sulfonate. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information or if you have any questions.

To give this medication rectally as an enema, use the prescribed dose usually every 6 hours as needed or as directed by your doctor. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for directions on how to prepare and mix the dose into a suspension and how to use the enema. Follow instructions for the use of a cleansing enema both before and after your dose of sodium polystyrene sulfonate. The cleansing enema after each rectal dose of this medication should be a non-sodium-containing enema.

Stir the suspension well, and use it soon after mixing. Do not store the mixture for more than 24 hours.

Do not heat this medication because it may not work as well.

The dosage and length of treatment are based on your medical condition and response to treatment. Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. Do not use more of this medication or use it for longer than directed because your potassium blood level may drop too low.

Keep all laboratory and medical appointments so your doctor can check your potassium blood level.

How do I store Sodium polystyrene sulfonate?

Sodium polystyrene sulfonate is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store Sodium polystyrene sulfonate in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of Sodium polystyrene sulfonate that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush Sodium polystyrene sulfonate down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using Sodium polystyrene sulfonate?

Before using sodium polystyrene sulfonate, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

This medication contains a large amount of salt (sodium). Do not use salt substitutes that contain potassium without asking your doctor first. If you have any of these conditions, follow your doctor’s instructions for limiting the amount of sodium in your diet: kidney problems, heart failure, high blood pressure, swelling hands/ankles/feet.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: stomach/intestine/bowel problems (such as inflammatory bowel disease, bowel obstruction, chronic constipation, fecal impaction), low level of potassium in the blood.

Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).

Older adults may be at greater risk for severe constipation.

This medication must not be given by mouth to newborns, especially premature infants. Also, newborns with slow gut function must not use this drug. Caution is advised when using this medication rectally in newborns and children. They may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially severe constipation and intestinal problems.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant before using this medication.

This medication does not pass into breast milk and is unlikely to harm a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breast-feeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using this Sodium polystyrene sulfonate during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking Sodium polystyrene sulfonate. Sodium polystyrene sulfonate is pregnancy risk category C according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk,
  • B=No risk in some studies,
  • C=There may be some risk,
  • D=Positive evidence of risk,
  • X=Contraindicated,
  • N=Unknown

Side effects

What side effects can occur from Sodium polystyrene sulfonate?

Loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, or constipation may occur. Diarrhea may occur less frequently. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

To prevent constipation, eat a diet adequate in fiber, drink plenty of water, and exercise, unless otherwise directed by your doctor. Severe constipation can become very serious. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for help in selecting a laxative (non-sorbitol type).

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: muscle weakness/spasms, fast/irregular heartbeat, mental/mood changes (such as irritability, confusion, slowed thinking), swelling hands/ankles/feet.

This medication may cause serious (rarely fatal) intestinal problems (such as bleeding, blockage). Get medical help right away if any of these very serious side effects occur: severe constipation, bloating/swelling/pain in the stomach/abdomen, black/bloody stools, vomit that looks like coffee grounds.

Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including: inability to move your muscles (paralysis), seizures.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.


What drugs may interact with Sodium polystyrene sulfonate?

Some products that may interact with this drug include: antacids/laxatives that contain aluminum/calcium/magnesium (such as aluminum carbonate, aluminum hydroxide, calcium carbonate, magnesium hydroxide).

Do not use any laxatives that contain sorbitol with this medication. Doing so may increase your risk of intestinal problems.

Sodium polystyrene sulfonate may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

Does food or alcohol interact with Sodium polystyrene sulfonate?

Sodium polystyrene sulfonate may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with Sodium polystyrene sulfonate?

Sodium polystyrene sulfonate may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.


The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using this Sodium polystyrene sulfonate.

What is the dose of Sodium polystyrene sulfonate for an adult?

Usual Adult Dose for Hyperkalemia


15 g orally once a day

Maximum dose: 15 g orally 4 times a day


-A 15 g dose is equivalent to approximately 4 level teaspoons.

-This drug should be given as a suspension in water or syrup (not fruit juice).


30 g rectally every 6 hours

Maximum dose: 50 g rectally every 6 hours


-This drug should be administered via warm emulsion in 100 mL of aqueous vehicle.

-This solution should be gently agitated during administration.

-The enema should be retained as long as possible and should be followed by a cleansing enema.

Use: Treatment of hyperkalemia

Dose Adjustments

Treatment intensity and duration should be based upon the severity and resistance of hyperkalemia.

Other Comments

Administration advice:

-Shake well before using suspension and gently agitate during administration if given rectally.

-May be given with water or syrup, but avoid fruit juices.

-This drug may be administered through a plastic tube introduced into the stomach.

-Enema should be kept in the rectum for as long as possible and rectum should be washed with a cleansing enema after use.

Storage requirements:

-Once prepared, use within 24 hours.

-Store in an airtight container protected from light and heat.

-If repackaging powder formulation, refrigerate and use within 14 days of opening.

Reconstitution/preparation techniques:

-Oral formulations should be suspended in 3 to 4 mL of liquid per 1 g resin.

-Enemas should be suspended in 100 mL body-temperature vehicle prior to administration.


-This drug was shown to have lower results as an enema compared to oral suspension.

-If using rectally, may require up to 2 quarts of cleansing solution.

-Each 15 g dose of this drug contains 60 mEq sodium.

-The efficiency of ion exchange is predicted to be around 33%, but is highly variable.


-Measure potassium levels at least every 24 hours

-Obtain calcium, magnesium, sodium levels periodically

Patient advice:

-Tell patients to contact healthcare provider if constipation, diarrhea, bloody stools, confusion, weakness, or delayed though processes occur.

-Caution patients to avoid taking antacids or laxatives with this drug (e.g., sorbitol, magnesium hydroxide)

-Patients should be advised to speak to healthcare provider if pregnant, intend to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

What is the dose of Sodium polystyrene sulfonate for a child?

Usual Pediatric Dose for Hyperkalemia

Calculate dose based on 1 mEq potassium per 1 g resin


-A 15 g dose is equivalent to approximately 4 level teaspoons.

-This drug should be given as a suspension in water or syrup (not fruit juice).

-The oral route should be avoided in neonates.

Use: Treatment of hyperkalemia


Safety has not been established in patients younger than 1 month (oral); effectiveness has not been established in patients younger than 18 years.

How is Sodium polystyrene sulfonate available?

Sodium polystyrene sulfonate is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • Oral and rectal powder,
  • Rectal enema,
  • Oral suspension,
  • Oral and rectal suspension.

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of Sodium polystyrene sulfonate, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: April 26, 2018 | Last Modified: September 12, 2019