Potassium alum


Generic Name
Potassium alum
DrugBank Accession Number

Potassium alum is considered by the FDA as a generally recognized as safe (GRAS) substance.9 It is an inorganic salt, also called potassium aluminum sulfate with a formula of AlK(SO4)2 that is predominantly produced in the dodecahydrate form (AlK(SO4)2 * 12H2O). Potassium alum is formed by large, transparent crystals that are used in different products like food or drugs as a buffer, neutralizing or forming agent.4

Small Molecule
Average: 258.205
Monoisotopic: 257.848703658
Chemical Formula
  • Alum, potassium
  • Aluminium potassium bis(sulphate)
  • Aluminium potassium sulfate
  • Aluminum potassium alum
  • Aluminum potassium disulfate
  • Aluminum potassium sulfate
  • Aluminum potassium sulfate anhydrous
  • Burnt potassium alum
  • Potash alum
  • Potassium aluminium sulfate
  • Potassium aluminum disulfate
External IDs
  • E-522
  • INS NO.522
  • INS-522



Potassium alum is considered safe by the FDA and its use is in homepathic or OTC products. Due to its presence in several different drugs, the main indications for the use of potassium alum are:

-Constipation10 -Cosmetic or drug astringent, helping the shrinkage of tissues and the dry of secretions11 -Oral health care drug11 -Part of formulation in cleansing products, skin-care products, mosturizers, face powders and deodorants12 -Antiperspirant13 -Antifungal13

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Contraindications & Blackbox Warnings
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The presence of potassium alum reduces swollen mucous membranes that result from inflammation of the nasal, gastrointestinal and urinary passages as well as in the presence of excessive secretions. The induction of the coagulation cascade will also stop bleeding.14

Mechanism of action

The main functions of potassium alum in drugs are as an astringent, antiseptic or adjuvant agent. The astringent action is performed by the induction of coagulation in the superficial tissue layers until the formation of a crust. The formation of alum ions neutralize the charges on plasma proteins, causing the blood to coagulate. Similar effect is observed in disinfectants where these ions react with the free organic acid and thiol groups of proteins on microbes and free proteins, resulting in protein precipitation. This action will generate the contraction of the tissue and dry up secretions. Its adjuvant properties are mainly used in the production of vaccines where the presence of this chemical enhances the immune response.15


Potassium alum is found in its dodecahydrate form that produces a very large molecule. This large molecule cannot be absorbed through the skin when this substance is included as an astringent agent in topical OTC.5 If ingested, the aluminum salts are rapidly solubilized in the stomach and then they can generate aluminum hydroxide or poorly absorbed basic aluminum salts.6

Volume of distribution

The distribution of aluminum salts in the body is influenced by increased concentrations of parathyroid hormone. It was shown, in preclinical studies, that oral administration of aluminum salts produces a distribution profile that forms deposits in kidneys, muscle, bone and gray matter.7

Protein binding

In studies, it has been shown that aluminum and aluminum salts are highly bound to plasma proteins. From the reports, it was found that 70-90% is bound to plasma proteins of which 60-70% is related to high molecular weight proteins and 10-20% to albumin.1


Potassium alum does not go through a metabolic pathway. When ingested or absorbed, it will get rapidly dissolved and it will form ions that will later generate other salt derivatives.

Route of elimination

When potassium alum is absorbed, the kidney is responsible for the elimination of the major portion of the absorbed dose.2 From the excretion, 0.1-0.3% of the absorbed dose is eliminated via the urine.8


Studies performed with aluminum compounds have shown a half-life of 4.5 h when administered intravenously.8


Renal clearance of aluminum is approximately 5-10% of the excretion of urea or creatinine. The reduced clearance of aluminum compounds is due to the high protein binding.3

Adverse Effects
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There is no evidence of potassium alum that demonstrates any suspicious for it to be a hazard for the consumers in the currently approved levels of use.9

Not Available
Pharmacogenomic Effects/ADRs
Not Available


Drug Interactions
This information should not be interpreted without the help of a healthcare provider. If you believe you are experiencing an interaction, contact a healthcare provider immediately. The absence of an interaction does not necessarily mean no interactions exist.
AcebutololPotassium alum may increase the hyperkalemic activities of Acebutolol.
AceclofenacPotassium alum may increase the hyperkalemic activities of Aceclofenac.
AcemetacinPotassium alum may increase the hyperkalemic activities of Acemetacin.
Acetylsalicylic acidPotassium alum may increase the hyperkalemic activities of Acetylsalicylic acid.
AlclofenacPotassium alum may increase the hyperkalemic activities of Alclofenac.
Food Interactions
Not Available


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Product Ingredients
IngredientUNIICASInChI Key
Potassium alum dodecahydrateNot AvailableNot AvailableNot applicable
Brand Name Prescription Products
NameDosageStrengthRouteLabellerMarketing StartMarketing EndRegionImage
Gingibraid W Alum Pot Sulf 0a 0.25mg/2.5cmPacking0.25 mg / 2.5 cmDentalVan R Dental Products Inc.1981-12-312007-07-31Canada flag
Gingibraid W Alum Pot Sulf 1a 0.35mg/2.5cmPacking0.35 mg / 2.5 cmDentalVan R Dental Products Inc.1981-12-312007-07-31Canada flag
Gingibraid W Alum Pot Sulf 2a 0.65mg/2.5cmPacking0.65 mg / 2.5 cmDentalVan R Dental Products Inc.1981-12-312007-07-31Canada flag
Gingibraid W Alum Pot Sulf 3a 1.15mg/2.5cmPacking1.15 mg / 2.5 cmDentalVan R Dental Products Inc.1981-12-312007-07-31Canada flag
Gingiyarn W Alum Pot Sulf No1 0.45mg/2.5cmPacking.45 mg / 2.5 cmDentalVan R Dental Products Inc.1981-12-312005-08-04Canada flag
Over the Counter Products
NameDosageStrengthRouteLabellerMarketing StartMarketing EndRegionImage
Alum PowderedPowderOralDawson Traders Ltd.1977-12-312006-03-22Canada flag
Mixture Products
NameIngredientsDosageRouteLabellerMarketing StartMarketing EndRegionImage
Blood Stop LiqPotassium alum (62.2 mg / mL) + Tannic acid (62.2 mg / mL)LiquidTopicalLaboratoire Romilo1979-12-311999-08-18Canada flag
Gingibraid W Alum Pot Sulf and Epin 0ePotassium alum (0.15 mg / 2.5 cm) + Racepinephrine hydrochloride (0.2 mg / 2.5 cm)PackingDentalVan R Dental Products Inc.1981-12-312007-07-31Canada flag
Gingibraid W Epineph and Alum 1ePotassium alum (0.25 mg / 2.5 cm) + Racepinephrine hydrochloride (0.4 mg / 2.5 cm)PackingDentalVan R Dental Products Inc.1981-12-312007-07-31Canada flag
Gingibraid W Epineph and Alum 2ePotassium alum (0.35 mg / 2.5 cm) + Racepinephrine hydrochloride (0.6 mg / 2.5 cm)PackingDentalVan R Dental Products Inc.1981-12-312007-07-31Canada flag
Gingibraid W Epineph and Alum 3ePotassium alum (0.55 mg / 2.5 cm) + Racepinephrine hydrochloride (0.9 mg / 2.5 cm)PackingDentalVan R Dental Products Inc.1981-12-312007-07-31Canada flag


Drug Categories
Chemical TaxonomyProvided by Classyfire
This compound belongs to the class of inorganic compounds known as post-transition metal sulfates. These are inorganic compounds in which the largest oxoanion is sulfate, and in which the heaviest atom not in an oxoanion is a post-transition metal.
Inorganic compounds
Super Class
Mixed metal/non-metal compounds
Post-transition metal oxoanionic compounds
Sub Class
Post-transition metal sulfates
Direct Parent
Post-transition metal sulfates
Alternative Parents
Post-transition metal salts / Inorganic salts / Inorganic oxides
Inorganic oxide / Inorganic post-transition metal salt / Inorganic salt / Post-transition metal sulfate
Molecular Framework
Not Available
External Descriptors
potassium salt, metal sulfate, aluminium salt (CHEBI:86463)
Affected organisms
  • Humans and other mammals

Chemical Identifiers

CAS number
InChI Key
aluminium(3+) potassium disulfate


General References
  1. Elliott HL, Macdougall AI: Aluminium studies in dialysis encephalopathy. Proc Eur Dial Transplant Assoc. 1978;15:157-63. [Article]
  2. Kovalchik MT, Kaehny WD, Hegg AP, Jackson JT, Alfrey AC: Aluminum kinetics during hemodialysis. J Lab Clin Med. 1978 Nov;92(5):712-20. [Article]
  3. Berlyne GM, Ben-Ari J, Pest D, Weinberger J, Stern M, Levine R, Gilmore GR: Hyperaluminaemia from aluminum resins in renal failure. Lancet. 1970 Sep 5;2(7671):494-6. [Article]
  4. Burdock G. (1997). Encyclopedia of food and color additives. CRC Press.
  5. Burke I. (2000). The nature of beauty . Ebury Press.
  6. McEvoy G., Miller J. and Litvak K. (1990). AHFS Drug information 90.. Bethesda.
  7. National research council (1981). Drinking water and health (4th ed.). National academy press.
  8. Ellenhorn M.J. and Barceloux D.G. (1988). Medical toxicology: diagnosis and treatment of human poisoning. Elsevier.
  9. FDA GRAS [Link]
  10. Homepathic label [Link]
  11. EWG's skin deep [Link]
  12. Cosmetics info [Link]
  13. FDA OTC ingredients [Link]
  14. Encyclopaedia Britannica [Link]
  15. What is alum? [Link]
PubChem Compound
PubChem Substance
Download (47.6 KB)

Clinical Trials

Clinical Trials


Not Available
Not Available
Dosage Forms
PackingDental0.25 mg / 2.5 cm
PackingDental0.35 mg / 2.5 cm
PackingDental0.65 mg / 2.5 cm
PackingDental1.15 mg / 2.5 cm
PackingDental.45 mg / 2.5 cm
PackingDental.8 mg / 2.5 cm
PackingDental1.35 mg / 2.5 cm
PackingDental.138 mg / cm
PackingDental.244 mg / cm
PackingDental.68 mg / cm
Not Available
Not Available


Experimental Properties
melting point (°C)92.5 °C'MSDS'
boiling point (°C)200 °C'MSDS'
water solubility1 g/ 7.5 ml at 25ºCBurdock G. Encyclopedia of food and color additives. (1997).
Predicted Properties
pKa (Strongest Acidic)-3Chemaxon
Physiological Charge-2Chemaxon
Hydrogen Acceptor Count4Chemaxon
Hydrogen Donor Count0Chemaxon
Polar Surface Area80.26 Å2Chemaxon
Rotatable Bond Count0Chemaxon
Refractivity11.53 m3·mol-1Chemaxon
Polarizability5.81 Å3Chemaxon
Number of Rings0Chemaxon
Rule of FiveYesChemaxon
Ghose FilterNoChemaxon
Veber's RuleNoChemaxon
MDDR-like RuleNoChemaxon
Predicted ADMET Features
Not Available


Mass Spec (NIST)
Not Available
Not Available
Chromatographic Properties
Collision Cross Sections (CCS)
Not Available


Pharmacological action
General Function
Toxic substance binding
Specific Function
Serum albumin, the main protein of plasma, has a good binding capacity for water, Ca(2+), Na(+), K(+), fatty acids, hormones, bilirubin and drugs. Its main function is the regulation of the colloid...
Gene Name
Uniprot ID
Uniprot Name
Serum albumin
Molecular Weight
69365.94 Da
  1. Elliott HL, Macdougall AI: Aluminium studies in dialysis encephalopathy. Proc Eur Dial Transplant Assoc. 1978;15:157-63. [Article]

Drug created at September 15, 2015 20:19 / Updated at December 02, 2023 07:01