Potassium hydroxide

Identification

Summary

Potassium hydroxide is a disinfectant used to clean hands, skin, and surfaces.

Generic Name
Potassium hydroxide
DrugBank Accession Number
DB11153
Background

Potassium hydroxide, also known as lye is an inorganic compound with the chemical formula KOH. Also commonly referred to as caustic potash, it is a potent base that is marketed in several forms including pellets, flakes, and powders. It is used in various chemical, industrial and manufacturing applications. Potassium hydroxide is also a precursor to other potassium compounds. Potassium hydroxide is used in food to adjust pH, as a stabilizer, and as a thickening agent.6,10 This ingredient has been considered as generally safe as a direct human food ingredient by the FDA, based upon the observance of several good manufacturing practice conditions of use.4

In addition to the above uses, potassium hydroxide is also used in making soap, as an electrolyte in alkaline batteries and in electroplating, lithography, and paint and varnish removers. Liquid drain cleaners contain 25 to 36% of potassium hydroxide 6.

Medically, potassium hydroxide (KOH) is widely used in the wet mount preparation of various clinical specimens for microscopic visualization of fungi and fungal elements in skin, hair, nails, and even vaginal secretions 1, 6.

Recently, it has been studied for efficacy and tolerability in the treatment of warts. It was determined that topical KOH solution was found to be a safe and effective treatment of plane warts 2.

Type
Small Molecule
Groups
Approved
Structure
Thumb
Weight
Average: 56.1056
Monoisotopic: 55.966446515
Chemical Formula
HKO
Synonyms
  • Ätzkali
  • hydroxyde de potassium
  • Kaliumhydroxid
  • potash lye
  • potasio hidróxido
  • potasse caustique
  • Potassium hydroxide
External IDs
  • E-525
  • INS NO.525
  • INS-525

Pharmacology

Indication

Medically, the microscopic examination of potassium hydroxide (KOH) preparations is utilized in the diagnosis of fungal hyphae or trichomonads 9.

Samples from hair, skin, or nail tissue are obtained by scraping with a scalpel, cotton-tipped applicator and are inoculated directly onto the KOH solution 9.

In addition to the above, potassium hydroxide is used as a softener for nail grooves 8.

Pharmacology
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Associated Conditions
Associated Therapies
Contraindications & Blackbox Warnings
Contraindications
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Pharmacodynamics

The corrosiveness of potassium hydroxide renders it a very useful agent in the decomposition/removal soft tissue and hair removal. It is incorporated into some nail products, shaving creams, and soaps 13.

Mechanism of action

The exact mechanism of action of KOH is not known but the speculated one is that topical application of KOH digests keratin, and induces inflammation 7.

The mechanism of skin injury by alkali substances such as potassium hydroxide is by the saponification of fat, causing fatty tissue to lose its function with increased damage due to a heat reaction. Extraction of water from cells occurs due to the hygroscopic (absorbent) nature of alkali. Dissolution of proteins also occurs, allowing for deeper penetration of OH- ions and resulting in various chemical reactions 14.

The alkali penetrates the skin quickly, saponifies plasma membranes, denatures collagen proteins, and leads to vascular thromboses in the conjunctiva and other parts of the eye. The resulting corneal burns include scarring and opacification of the cornea with resulting in vision loss, corneal neovascularization, ulcer formation, and perforation. Other consequences of untreated or very severe alkali burns include epithelial erosions, secondary glaucoma, and causes the destruction of conjunctival mucus cells, causing dry eyes, trichiasis (misdirected eyelash hairs), and other ocular conditions 14.

In the gastrointestinal tract, after oral ingestion, burns may result. The mechanism of injury is liquefactive necrosis. The thrombosis of gastrointestinal blood vessels also contributes to tissue damage. When the alkali enters the stomach, gastric acid may neutralize the strong base, which can limit the extent of the injury. Perforation of the stomach can sometimes occur with peritonitis and caustic injury to the surrounding organs including the colon, pancreas, liver, and spleen 14.

Absorption

KOH in aqueous solutions completely dissociates into K+ and OH- ions. Because of the neutralization of OH- by gastric HCl and the rapid blood pH regulation action (buffer capacity of extracellular body fluids, respiratory and renal compensation mechanisms), an alkalosis due to the OH- ions after KOH oral dosage in non-irritating conditions is thus prevented 3.

The uptake of potassium, in potassium hydroxide form, is much less than the oral uptake with therapeutic doses of KCl for treating potassium deficiency, of up to 10 g/day. Furthermore, the oral uptake of potassium from food/natural sources or from food additives is likely to be also much higher 3.

Volume of distribution

Not Available

Protein binding

Not Available

Metabolism

KOH in aqueous solution is entirely dissociated into K+ and OH- ions. Due to the neutralization of OH- by gastric HCl and the quick and efficient blood pH regulation mechanisms (buffer capacity of extra cellular body fluids, respiratory and renal compensation mechanisms), an alkalosis due to the OH- ions after KOH oral dosage in non-irritating conditions is prevented 14.

Route of elimination

Not Available

Half-life

Not Available

Clearance

Not Available

Adverse Effects
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Toxicity

No studies are currently identified regarding the reproduction/developmental toxicity of potassium hydroxide 14.

The Ld50 of potassium hydroxide in rats ranges from 0.273 - 1.230 g KOH/kg body weight/day 3.

Adverse effects include vomiting, diarrhea, skin blistering, gastrointestinal disturbance, and burns 5.

Strong alkaline chemicals such as potassium hydroxide destroy soft tissues may cause a deep, penetrating type of burn. Caustics are usually hydroxides of light metals. Sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide are the most broadly used caustic agents in the industry 11.

Potassium Hydroxide can irritate the lungs. Repeated exposure may cause bronchitis to develop with coughing, phlegm, and/or shortness of breath 9.

Pathways
Not Available
Pharmacogenomic Effects/ADRs
Not Available

Interactions

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.
DrugInteraction
AcebutololPotassium hydroxide may increase the hyperkalemic activities of Acebutolol.
AceclofenacPotassium hydroxide may increase the hyperkalemic activities of Aceclofenac.
AcemetacinPotassium hydroxide may increase the hyperkalemic activities of Acemetacin.
Acetylsalicylic acidPotassium hydroxide may increase the hyperkalemic activities of Acetylsalicylic acid.
AlclofenacPotassium hydroxide may increase the hyperkalemic activities of Alclofenac.
AliskirenPotassium hydroxide may increase the hyperkalemic activities of Aliskiren.
AmilorideThe risk or severity of hyperkalemia can be increased when Potassium hydroxide is combined with Amiloride.
AminophenazonePotassium hydroxide may increase the hyperkalemic activities of Aminophenazone.
AmiodaronePotassium hydroxide may increase the hyperkalemic activities of Amiodarone.
AmlodipinePotassium hydroxide may increase the hyperkalemic activities of Amlodipine.
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Food Interactions
No interactions found.

Products

Products2
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Active Moieties
NameKindUNIICASInChI Key
Potassium cationionic295O53K15224203-36-9NPYPAHLBTDXSSS-UHFFFAOYSA-N
Hydroxide ionionic9159UV381P14280-30-9XLYOFNOQVPJJNP-UHFFFAOYSA-M
Brand Name Prescription Products
NameDosageStrengthRouteLabellerMarketing StartMarketing EndRegionImage
Potassium HydroxideLiquid.05 g/1gTopicalGordon Laboratories2010-07-16Not applicableUS flag
Over the Counter Products
NameDosageStrengthRouteLabellerMarketing StartMarketing EndRegionImage
MIRACLE WATER 3 in 1Spray0.3 mg/1mLTopicalORIGIN G&B CO.,LTD2020-07-16Not applicableUS flag
OHTrust Nano Ion WaterLiquid0.2 g/100mLTopicalNanoplus Limited (Cayman) Taiwan Branch2016-09-26Not applicableUS flag
OHTrust Nano Ion WaterLiquid0.2 g/100mLTopicalNanoplus Limited (Cayman) Taiwan Branch2020-05-202020-05-21US flag
OHTrust Nano Ion WaterLiquid0.2 g/100mLTopicalKunshan Nano Environmental Protection Technology CO. LTD.2020-05-212020-06-03US flag
OHTrust Nano Ion WaterLiquid0.2 g/100mLTopicalNanoplus Limited (Cayman) Taiwan Branch2020-05-152020-05-20US flag
OHTrust Nano Ion WaterLiquid0.2 g/100mLTopicalNanoplus Limited (Cayman) Taiwan Branch2020-05-21Not applicableUS flag
Mixture Products
NameIngredientsDosageRouteLabellerMarketing StartMarketing EndRegionImage
OHTrust Nano Ion WaterPotassium hydroxide (0.1 g/100mL) + Hydroxide ion (0.5 g/100mL)LiquidTopicalKunshan Nano Environmental Protection Technology CO. LTD.2020-09-03Not applicableUS flag
Tincture GreenPotassium hydroxide (5.961 g/100mL) + Ethanol (24.93 g/100mL) + Rosin (2.47 g/100mL)LiquidTopicalMedical Chemical Corporation1954-06-152019-09-20US flag
Tincture Green SoapPotassium hydroxide (5.961 g/100mL) + Ethanol (24.93 g/100mL) + Rosin (2.47 g/100mL)LiquidTopicalMedical Chemical Corporation1954-06-15Not applicableUS flag
Vamin NPotassium hydroxide (97 mg / 100 mL) + Alanine (300 mg / 100 mL) + Arginine (330 mg / 100 mL) + Aspartic acid (410 mg / 100 mL) + Calcium chloride (36.8 mg / 100 mL) + Cysteine (140 mg / 100 mL) + Glutamic acid (900 mg / 100 mL) + Glycine (210 mg / 100 mL) + Histidine (240 mg / 100 mL) + Isoleucine (390 mg / 100 mL) + Leucine (530 mg / 100 mL) + Lysine (390 mg / 100 mL) + Magnesium sulfate (37 mg / 100 mL) + Methionine (190 mg / 100 mL) + Phenylalanine (550 mg / 100 mL) + Potassium chloride (37.5 mg / 100 mL) + Proline (810 mg / 100 mL) + Serine (750 mg / 100 mL) + Sodium hydroxide (200 mg / 100 mL) + Threonine (300 mg / 100 mL) + Tryptophan (100 mg / 100 mL) + Tyrosine (50 mg / 100 mL) + Valine (425 mg / 100 mL)SolutionIntravenousFresenius Kabi Ab1995-12-312006-07-17Canada flag
Unapproved/Other Products
NameIngredientsDosageRouteLabellerMarketing StartMarketing EndRegionImage
MIRACLE WATER 3 in 1Potassium hydroxide (0.3 mg/1mL)SprayTopicalORIGIN G&B CO.,LTD2020-07-16Not applicableUS flag
OHTrust Nano Ion WaterPotassium hydroxide (0.2 g/100mL)LiquidTopicalKunshan Nano Environmental Protection Technology CO. LTD.2020-05-212020-06-03US flag
OHTrust Nano Ion WaterPotassium hydroxide (0.2 g/100mL)LiquidTopicalNanoplus Limited (Cayman) Taiwan Branch2020-05-152020-05-20US flag
OHTrust Nano Ion WaterPotassium hydroxide (0.1 g/100mL) + Hydroxide ion (0.5 g/100mL)LiquidTopicalKunshan Nano Environmental Protection Technology CO. LTD.2020-09-03Not applicableUS flag
OHTrust Nano Ion WaterPotassium hydroxide (0.2 g/100mL)LiquidTopicalNanoplus Limited (Cayman) Taiwan Branch2020-05-21Not applicableUS flag
OHTrust Nano Ion WaterPotassium hydroxide (0.2 g/100mL)LiquidTopicalNanoplus Limited (Cayman) Taiwan Branch2016-09-26Not applicableUS flag
OHTrust Nano Ion WaterPotassium hydroxide (0.2 g/100mL)LiquidTopicalNanoplus Limited (Cayman) Taiwan Branch2020-05-202020-05-21US flag
Potassium HydroxidePotassium hydroxide (.05 g/1g)LiquidTopicalGordon Laboratories2010-07-16Not applicableUS flag

Categories

Drug Categories
Chemical TaxonomyProvided by Classyfire
Description
This compound belongs to the class of inorganic compounds known as alkali metal hydroxides. These are inorganic compounds in which the largest oxoanion is hydroxide, and in which the heaviest atom not in an oxoanion is an alkali metal.
Kingdom
Inorganic compounds
Super Class
Mixed metal/non-metal compounds
Class
Alkali metal oxoanionic compounds
Sub Class
Alkali metal hydroxides
Direct Parent
Alkali metal hydroxides
Alternative Parents
Inorganic salts / Inorganic oxides / Inorganic hydrides
Substituents
Alkali metal hydroxide / Inorganic hydride / Inorganic oxide / Inorganic salt
Molecular Framework
Not Available
External Descriptors
alkali metal hydroxide (CHEBI:32035)
Affected organisms
Not Available

Chemical Identifiers

UNII
WZH3C48M4T
CAS number
1310-58-3
InChI Key
KWYUFKZDYYNOTN-UHFFFAOYSA-M
InChI
InChI=1S/K.H2O/h;1H2/q+1;/p-1
IUPAC Name
potassium hydroxide
SMILES
[OH-].[K+]

References

General References
  1. Parija SC, Shivaprakash MR: Evaluation of potassium hydroxide for wet mount preparation of stool for detection of intestinal parasites. Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis. 2001 Nov;41(3):127-30. [Article]
  2. Evaluation of Topical Potassium Hydroxide Solution for Treatment of Plane Warts [Link]
  3. Potassium Hydroxide [Link]
  4. FDA document, potassium hydroxide [Link]
  5. Potassium [Link]
  6. NJ Gov Document, Potassium Hydroxide [Link]
  7. Comparison of 5% potassium hydroxide with 10% potassium hydroxide solution in treatment of molluscum contagiosum: A comparative study [Link]
  8. Potassium Hydroxide Liquid [Link]
  9. Potassium hydroxide overview [Link]
  10. Overview of KOH [Link]
  11. NIH MeSH search, Potassium Hydroxide [Link]
  12. ECHA information page, Potassium Hydroxide [Link]
  13. Potassium Hydroxide- Continental Chemical [Link]
  14. InCHEM, Potassium Hydroxide [Link]
KEGG Drug
D01168
KEGG Compound
C12568
PubChem Compound
14797
PubChem Substance
347827922
ChemSpider
14113
RxNav
34311
ChEBI
32035
ChEMBL
CHEMBL2103983
Wikipedia
Potassium_hydroxide
MSDS
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Clinical Trials

Clinical Trials
PhaseStatusPurposeConditionsCount

Pharmacoeconomics

Manufacturers
Not Available
Packagers
Not Available
Dosage Forms
FormRouteStrength
InjectionIntravenous
SolutionIntravenous
SprayTopical0.3 mg/1mL
Injection, solutionIntravenous
SolutionParenteral
Injection, solution
LiquidTopical0.2 g/100mL
LiquidTopical.05 g/1g
LiquidTopical
Prices
Not Available
Patents
Not Available

Properties

State
Solid
Experimental Properties
PropertyValueSource
melting point (°C)405MSDS
boiling point (°C)1,320MSDS
water solubilitySoluble MSDS
Predicted Properties
PropertyValueSource
logP0.2ChemAxon
pKa (Strongest Acidic)3.09ChemAxon
Physiological Charge1ChemAxon
Hydrogen Acceptor Count0ChemAxon
Hydrogen Donor Count0ChemAxon
Polar Surface Area0 Å2ChemAxon
Rotatable Bond Count0ChemAxon
Refractivity0 m3·mol-1ChemAxon
Polarizability1.78 Å3ChemAxon
Number of Rings0ChemAxon
Bioavailability1ChemAxon
Rule of FiveYesChemAxon
Ghose FilterNoChemAxon
Veber's RuleYesChemAxon
MDDR-like RuleNoChemAxon
Predicted ADMET Features
Not Available

Spectra

Mass Spec (NIST)
Not Available
Spectra
Not Available

Drug created on December 03, 2015 16:51 / Updated on February 21, 2021 18:52