Impact of Potassium Citrate vs Citric Acid on Urinary Stone Risk in Calcium Phosphate Stone Formers

Steeve Doizi, John R. Poindexter, Margaret S Pearle, Francisco Blanco, Orson W Moe, Khashayar Sakhaee, Naim M Maalouf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Purpose: To our knowledge no medication has been shown to be effective for preventing recurrent calcium phosphate urinary stones. Potassium citrate may protect against calcium phosphate stones by enhancing urine citrate excretion and lowering urine calcium but it raises urine pH, which increases calcium phosphate saturation and may negate the beneficial effects. Citric acid can potentially raise urine citrate but not pH and, thus, it may be a useful countermeasure against calcium phosphate stones. We assessed whether these 2 agents could significantly alter urine composition and reduce calcium phosphate saturation. Materials and Methods: In a crossover metabolic study 13 recurrent calcium phosphate stone formers without hypercalciuria were evaluated at the end of 3, 1-week study phases during which they consumed a fixed metabolic diet and received assigned study medications, including citric acid 30 mEq twice daily, potassium citrate 20 mEq twice daily or matching placebo. We collected 24-hour urine specimens to perform urine chemistry studies and calculate calcium phosphate saturation indexes. Results: Urine parameters did not significantly differ between the citric acid and placebo phases. Potassium citrate significantly increased urine pH, potassium and citrate compared to citric acid and placebo (p <0.01) with a trend toward lower urine calcium (p = 0.062). Brushite saturation was increased by potassium citrate when calculated by the relative supersaturation ratio but not by the saturation index. Conclusions: Citric acid at a dose of 60 mEq per day did not significantly alter urine composition in calcium phosphate stone formers. The long-term impact of potassium citrate on calcium phosphate stone recurrence needs to be studied further.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1278-1284
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2018


  • calcium phosphates
  • citric acid
  • potassium citrate
  • urinary tract
  • urolithiasis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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