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Hyperkalemic periodic paralysis

  • Alternative Names

    Periodic paralysis - hyperkalemic


    The goal of treatment is to relieve symptoms and prevent further attacks.

    Attacks are seldom severe enough to require emergency treatment. However, weakness can become worse with repeated attacks, so treatment to prevent the attacks should occur as soon as possible.

    Glucose or other carbohydrates (sugars) given during an attack may reduce the severity of the symptoms. Calcium or diuretics, such as furosemide, may need to be given through a vein to stop sudden attacks.

    Support Groups

    Expectations (prognosis)

    Sometimes attacks disappear later in life on their own. However, chronic attacks generally result in progressive muscle weakness that is present even between attacks.

    Hyperkalemic periodic paralysis responds well to treatment. Treatment may prevent, and may even reverse, progressive muscle weakness.

    • Kidney stones (a side effect of acetazolamide)
    • Heart arrhythmias during attacks (rare, not fatal)
    • Difficulty breathing, speaking, or swallowing during attacks (rare)
    • Progressive muscle weakness

    Calling your health care provider

    Call your health care provider if you have intermittent muscle weakness, particularly if there is a family history of periodic paralysis.

    Go to the emergency room or call the local emergency number (such as 911) if you faint or have difficulty breathing, speaking, or swallowing. These are emergency symptoms.