Sodium nitrite


Generic Name: Sodium nitrite Brand Name(s): Generics only. No brands available.


What is sodium nitrite used for?

Sodium nitrite is commonly used for sequential use with sodium thiosulfate for the treatment of acute cyanide poisoning that is judged to be life-threatening.

How should I take sodium nitrite?

Sodium nitrite should be administered by slow intravenous injection by your doctor. They should be given as early as possible after a diagnosis of acute life-threatening cyanide poisoning has been established.

How do I store sodium nitrite?

Sodium nitrite is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store sodium nitrite in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of sodium nitrite 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 nitrite 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.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using sodium nitrite?

Before using this drug, you should know that:

  • Sodium nitrite has been associated with severe hypotension, methemoglobinemia, and death at doses less than twice recommended therapeutic doses.
  • Sodium nitrite should be used with caution in patients with known anemia.
  • Sodium nitrite should be used with caution in persons with smoke inhalation injury or carbon monoxide poisoning because of the potential for worsening hypoxia due to methemoglobin formation.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using sodium nitrite during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking sodium nitrite. Sodium nitrite 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
  • X=Contraindicated
  • N=Unknown

Side effects

What side effects can occur from sodium nitrite?

Some side effects can occur when using this drug, including:

  • Cardiovascular system (such assyncope, hypotension, tachycardia, methemoglobinemia, palpitations, dysrhythmia)
  • Hematological (including methemoglobinemia)
  • Central nervous system(such as headache, dizziness, blurred vision, seizures, confusion, coma)
  • Gastrointestinal system(such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain)
  • Respiratory system (includingtachypnea, dyspnea)
  • Anxiety, diaphoresis, lightheadedness, injection site tingling, cyanosis, acidosis, fatigue, weakness, urticaria, generalized numbness and tingling

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.


What drugs may interact with sodium nitrite?

Sodium nitrite 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.

Does food or alcohol interact with sodium nitrite?

Sodium nitrite 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 nitrite?

Sodium Nitrite 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.


The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using sodium nitrite.

What is the dose of sodium nitrite for an adult?

The recommended dose is 10 ml of sodium nitrite at the rate of 2.5 to 5 ml/minute.

What is the dose of sodium nitrite for a child?

The recommended dose is 0.2 ml/kg (6 mg/kg or 6-8 ml/m2 BSA) of sodium nitrite at the rate of 2.5 to 5 ml/minute not to exceed 10 ml.

How is sodium nitrite available?

Sodium nitrite is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • One vial of sodium nitrite injection, USP 300 mg/10ml (30 mg/ml)

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of sodium nitrite, 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: February 7, 2017 | Last Modified: February 7, 2017