The Impact of Alternative Alkalinizing Agents on 24-Hour Urine Parameters



      To determine if alternative alkalinizing agents lead to similar changes in 24-hour urine pH and citrate compared to potassium citrate (KCIT). Many stone formers cannot tolerate KCIT due to side effects or cost. In these patients, we have prescribed potassium bicarbonate or sodium bicarbonate as alternative alkali (AA), though their efficacy is unclear.


      We performed a retrospective cohort study of adult stone formers seen from 2000 to 2018 with 24-hour urine analyses. Two analyses were performed. The first evaluated the alkalinizing and citraturic effects in patients with baseline low urine pH or hypocitraturia off of any alkalinizing medications, who were subsequently treated with either KCIT or AA. The second analysis compared the pH and citrate in patients changing from KCIT to an AA. Reasons for switching were abstracted by chart review and cost savings percentages were calculated using GoodRx medication prices.


      When starting alkali therapy, the median increase in pH from baseline was 0.64 for KCIT and 0.51 for AA (P = .077), and the median increase in citrate from baseline was 231 mg for KCIT and 171 mg for AA (P = .109). When switching alkali therapy, median pH and citrate did not significantly change. Hyperkalemia (24%), GI upset (19%), and cost (17%) were the most common reasons cited for switching to an AA. AA represented a savings of 86%-92% compared to KCIT.


      Alternative alkali appear to offer comparable improvements in 24-hour urine parameters and significant cost-savings compared to KCIT.
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