Monday, April 25, 2011

Are Pills More Stable Than Realized?

I take potassium chloride (KCl; a highly-soluble salt) as a potassium supplement to offset the wasting diuretic effect of my blood pressure pills. Recently, the KCl pill was shifted from a capsule form to a pill form, probably because that generic form was a bit cheaper. No problem, I thought. Along with the active ingredient, pills are made of some kind of stabilizing goop, but KCl is so soluble it shouldn't be able to survive passage through the gut, stabilizing goop, or not.

Nevertheless, the doctor wasn't satisfied with the dosage. He kept trying to increase it. Apparently I wasn't getting enough. Odd, I thought. I felt like those turkeys on Mauritius, when the botanist realized in a blaze of brilliant insight that a certain rare tree couldn't reproduce anymore because the seeds hadn't passed through a bird's gut, because the bird in question - the dodo - had been extinct for centuries. So, the botanist grabbed turkeys and started force-feeding them tree seeds, in a Hail-Mary effort to save the rapidly-dying trees [note: this is Marc's embellished history of a real event, and may not coincide precisely with true events]. I complied with the doctor's wishes regarding higher dosages, but wondered, does a person really need that much KCl?

Today, I made a scatological discovery: The KCl pill CAN survive passage through the gut nearly-intact! Amazing! That pill goop must be much-more-stable than I could have imagined! The KCl sails right through the system, rather than getting absorbed! It now means I have to crunch the pills in order to assure proper dosage! Who would have thought?

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