Know the basics
What is sodium bicarbonate used for?
Sodium bicarbonate is commonly used to relieve heartburn and acid indigestion. Your doctor also may prescribe sodium bicarbonate to make your blood or urine less acidic in certain conditions.
How should I take sodium bicarbonate?
Dissolve sodium bicarbonate powder in at least 120ml of water and measure doses carefully by using a measuring spoon.
How do I store sodium bicarbonate?
Sodium bicarbonate is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store sodium bicarbonate in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of sodium bicarbonate that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.
You should not flush sodium bicarbonate down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.
Know the precautions & warnings
What should I know before using sodium bicarbonate?
Consult with your doctor if:
- You are taking other antacids, aspirin or aspirin-like medicines, benzodiazepines, flecainide (Tambocor®), iron, ketoconazole (Nizoral®), lithium (Eskalith®, Lithobid®), methenamine (Hiprex®, Urex®), methotrexate, quinidine, sulfa-containing antibiotics, tetracycline (Sumycin®), or vitamins. Take sodium bicarbonate at least 2 hours apart from other medicines.
- You have or have ever had high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, or kidney disease or if you have recently had to bleed in your stomach or intestine.
- You are pregnant, plan to become pregnant or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while taking sodium bicarbonate, call your doctor.
Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?
There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using sodium bicarbonate during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking sodium bicarbonate. Sodium bicarbonate is pregnancy risk category C according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:
- A=No risk;
- B=No risk in some studies;
- C=There may be some risk;
- D=Positive evidence of risk;
Know the side effects
What side effects can occur from sodium bicarbonate?
- Nausea, bloating, or gas may occur;
- Swelling hands/ankles/feet, unusual weight gain.
Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.
Know the interactions
What drugs may interact with sodium bicarbonate?
Sodium bicarbonate may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.
- Aspirin and other salicylates (such as salsalate);
- Barbiturates (such as phenobarbital);
- Calcium supplements;
- Corticosteroids (such as prednisone);
- Medications with a special coating to protect the stomach (enteric coating);
- Lithium, quinidine;
- Water pills (thiazide diuretics such as hydrochlorothiazide).
Does food or alcohol interact with sodium bicarbonate?
Sodium bicarbonate may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.
What health conditions may interact with sodium bicarbonate?
Sodium bicarbonate may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.
- A certain breathing problem (pulmonary edema);
- Congestive heart failure;
- Severe kidney disease (e.g., inability to make urine);
- Severe liver disease (e.g., ascites, cirrhosis);
- High sodium levels;
- Swollen ankles/legs/feet due to retaining water (peripheral edema).
Understand the dosage
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using sodium bicarbonate.
What is the dose of sodium bicarbonate for an adult?
- Moderate metabolic acidosis: 325 to 2000 mg orally 1 to 4 times a day. One gram provides 11.9 mEq (mmoL) each of sodium and bicarbonate.
- Urinary Alkalinization: 25 to 2000 mg orally 1 to 4 times a day. One gram provides 11.9 mEq (mmoL) each of sodium and bicarbonate.
- Dyspepsia: 325 to 2000 mg orally 1 to 4 times a day.
What is the dose of sodium bicarbonate for a child?
0 to 12 years: 1 to 10 mEq (84 to 840 mg)/kg/day orally in divided doses.
How is sodium bicarbonate available?
Sodium bicarbonate is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:
- Applies to sodium bicarbonate: capsule, granule, powder, solution, tablet;
- Applies to the following strength(s): 650 mg; 5%; 7.5%; 8.4%; 4.2%; 4%; 325 mg; 150 mEq/1000 mL-D5%; 150 mEq/1150 mL-D5%.
What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?
In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services (115) or go to your nearest emergency room
What should I do if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose of sodium bicarbonate, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: September 20, 2016 | Last Modified: September 12, 2019
Sodium bicarbonate. https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682001.html. Accessed Septemper 19, 2016.
Sodium bicarbonate. http://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-11325/sodium-bicarbonate-oral/details. Accessed Septemper 19, 2016.
Sodium bicarbonate. https://www.drugs.com/cdi/sodium-bicarbonate.html. Accessed Septemper 19, 2016.