Daily potassium citrate wards off kidney stones in young seizure patients

September 24, 2009

Children on the high-fat ketogenic diet to control epileptic seizures can prevent the kidney stones caused by the diet if they take a daily supplement of potassium citrate (Polycitra K), according to research from Johns Hopkins Children?s Center, Baltimore.

Children on the high-fat ketogenic diet to control epileptic seizures can prevent the kidney stones caused by the diet if they take a daily supplement of potassium citrate (Polycitra K), according to research from Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, Baltimore.

"We can confidently say this is a safe and powerful way to prevent kidney stones, and it should become part of standard therapy in all ketogenic dieters, not just those who already show elevated urine calcium levels," said senior investigator Eric Kossoff, MD. "If you wait, it might be too late."

Hopkins Children’s physicians adopted the preventive treatment with potassium citrate 2 years ago. In their study of 301 children treated for epilepsy with the ketogenic diet, the researchers found that those who ingested potassium citrate twice daily were seven times less likely to develop kidney stones-one of 106 (0.9%) developed a kidney stone compared with 13 out of 195 (6.7%) who were given potassium citrate only after testing positive for elevated levels of blood calcium. Most children received one 30-milliequivalent packet of potassium citrate twice daily.

Results of the study appear in Pediatrics (2009; 124:e300-4).