Korean J Med.  2021 Apr;96(2):139-142. 10.3904/kjm.2021.96.2.139.

Nafcillin-Associated Hypokalemia

  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Baekje General Hospital, Nonsan, Korea
  • 2Division of Nephrology, Department of Internal Medicine, Dankook University Hospital, Dankook University College of Medicine, Cheonan, Korea
  • 3Department of Internal Medicine, Hankook General Hospital, Cheongju, Korea
  • 4Department of Internal Medicine, Daejeon Chamsarang Convalescent Hospital, Daejeon, Korea


Hypokalemia is a common finding in various clinical settings; it is associated with diuretic use and loss of potassium via the gastrointestinal tract. Less common causes are renal tubular acidosis, diabetic ketoacidosis, excess insulin, primary hyperaldosteronism, and medications, such as amphotericin B. Nafcillin, a narrow-spectrum penicillin class antibiotic, which is selectively prescribed for methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcal aureus infections, and is commonly associated with gastrointestinal side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. However, in rare cases it can cause hypokalemia, which is usually overlooked. Severe hypokalemia was detected in a 59-year-old male patient hospitalized due to traumatic cerebral hemorrhage who received 12 g of nafcillin per day for more than 2 weeks for sepsis caused by methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus epidermidis. We confirmed the association between nafcillin and hypokalemia through further evaluation and a review of the relevant literature. Clinicians should be aware of hypokalemia as a complication when using high doses of nafcillin.


Hypokalemia; Nafcillin; Adverse effects
Full Text Links
  • KJM
export Copy
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
Similar articles
Copyright © 2024 by Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors. All rights reserved.     E-mail: koreamed@kamje.or.kr