Popular supplement withdrawn from sale

The potassium chloride pills contain high lead levels

A popular potassium chloride supplement has been withdrawn amid concern it contains unacceptably high levels of lead that could be dangerous to unborn babies.

Australian doctors have been told to consider alternatives to Slow-K/Duro-K, manufactured by Novartis, for pregnant women or anyone taking more than two 600mg pills a day for an extended period.

The TGA says it is aware of the issue, which involves lead levels above what's acceptable for human consumption under Australian guidelines.

"The company is withdrawing their product but there are alternatives for patients," a spokeswoman said in a statement.

"Our initial analysis of the data is that there are no concerns for Australian patients as a result of using this product."

However, a company note sent to doctors notes an "emerging safety issue" and says Novartis is exploring options for sourcing alternatives from around the world. - AAP