Sodium Bicarbonate (Intravenous, Oral, Subcutaneous)

Sodium Bicarbonate is a fast-acting antacid treating stomach symptoms and long-term disorders associated with ulcers by neutralizing the excess stomach acid.

Overview

As an antacid, sodium bicarbonate treats stomach symptoms. It should be used for temporary relief only. If the condition persists, you need to see a doctor; chances of an underlying serious health problem exist.

One of the most common ulcers occurs in the small intestine (duodenal). Stomach and intestine ulcers develop from internal infections or anti-inflammatory medicines like aspirin. Our stomach produces acid to help digest food and kill bacteria, sometimes, there's an excess volume of acid lingering. It can damage the lining of the stomach and intestine - results - ulcers or indigestion.

Because sodium bicarbonate contains salt - if you are on a restricted salt diet - precautions are necessary. Other health conditions can worsen when taking this medicine including low calcium levels, kidney problems, heart failure and water retention.

Talk to your doctor, there may be an alternative for treating the disorder. If you are pregnant, the medicine could cause your blood pressure to rise. This medicine should not be used to treat children under the age of six years.

Conditions Treated

  • Heartburn
  • Sour stomach
  • Acid indigestion
  • Stomach or duodenal ulcers

Type of Medicine

  • Antacid

Side Effects

Before taking this medicine, be sure to tell your doctor or pharmacist about any allergies you have. There are inactive ingredients in sodium bicarbonate that will trigger these allergic reactions or worsen an existing health ailment.

  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Itching
  • Nausea
  • Rash
  • Trouble breathing

Most individuals taking this medicine DO NOT experience serious side effects, but since you are unique, your personal health situation could change how your body responds to this form of treatment. If you notice changes like unusual swelling or weight gain, contact your doctor.

It's rare, but these side effects happen when large doses are taken daily or the duration of treatment is extensive. Your diet and current health status affect the severity of these effects. Be sure to talk to your doctor if the effects persist.

  • Chloride blood deficiency
  • Heart failure problems
  • Increased stomach acid
  • Increased sodium levels
  • Kidney disease
  • Muscle weakness and cramps
  • Potassium blood deficiency

Daily diet routines, health supplements, herbal remedies, high calcium diets, and other medications taken with this medicine can cause other health ailments. Here's a list of side effects most common when taking sodium bicarbonate regularly. If you experience one not on the list, talk to your doctor.

  • Bloody or black stools
  • Bloody urine
  • Breathing problems
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Nausea
  • No appetite
  • Swelling
  • Unusual urge to urinate
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness

Some side effects are less common and although they may not be emergencies, they need some medical attention. Most of the time, these effects disappear over time as your body adjusts to the new treatment. Sometimes the effects get worse and prevent you from participating in your daily activities.

Your body is sending signals with these changes; you need to keep your doctor update. It may be a sign that it's time to change the dose or frequency. It may be the beginning of another health disorder. If the effects are uncomfortable, your doctor has a solution to ease or prevent the side effect. Here's a list of effects that are less common.

  • Increased thirst
  • Stomach cramps

For the best results, follow your doctor's instructions on how and when to take this medicine. If you are taking other prescriptions or non-prescriptions, it may help to take sodium bicarbonate at separate intervals. Ask your doctor for directions.

Dosage

Sodium Bicarbonate is available in tablets, compound powders, and an intravenous solution. The dosage varies depending on the condition and your doctor will set the prescribed starting dose to treat it. If the symptoms continue or worsen for any of the disorders, contact your doctor. If you are self-treating with over-the-counter medicines, follow the manufacturer's product label.

If your acid problems continue or you have been taking this medication for over two weeks with no improvements to your health, it's time to see the doctor.

For the best results and maximum relief, take this medication as instructed - DO NOT take higher doses or increase the frequency unless instructed to do so - this action will not speed up the relief. Doubling the dose or frequency can be harmful and painful; it may also prompt other more serious health conditions.

Sodium bicarbonate effervescent powder

  • Adults or teenagers - 3.9 to 10 grams (gm) mixed in a glass of cold water and taken after meals. DO NOT exceed over 19 gm in one day.
  • Children under 6 years of age - doctor will decide the dose
  • Children over 6 years and up to 12 years of age - 1 to 1.9 gm mixed in a glass of cold water and taken after meals.

Sodium bicarbonate powder

  • Adults or teenagers - ½ teaspoon mixed in a glass of cold water every two hours. Your doctor may change the dose based on the symptoms.
  • Children under 6 years of age - doctor will decide the dose
  • Children over 6 years and up to 12 years of age - doctor will decide the dose

Sodium bicarbonate tablets

  • Adults or teenagers - 325 milligrams (mg) to 2 gm once a day or up to four times a day.
  • Children under 6 years of age - doctor will decide the dose
  • Children over 6 years and up to 12 years of age - 520 mg, per the doctor's instructions in 30-minute increments.

Sodium bicarbonate tablets - increasing alkaline in the urine

  • Adults or teenagers - Start with 4 gm, reducing to 1 or 2 gm every four hours, per the doctor's instructions. DO NOT exceed 16 grams in a single day.
  • Children under 6 years of age - doctor will decide the dose
  • Children over 6 years and up to 12 years of age - prescribed by the doctor based on weight and age - 23 to 230 mg per day. Dosage may change per the doctor's instructions.

Sodium bicarbonate powder- increasing alkaline in the urine

  • Adults or teenagers - 1 teaspoon mixed in a glass of cold water taken every four hours, per the doctor's instructions. DO NOT exceed 4 teaspoons in a single day.
  • Children under 6 years of age - doctor will decide the dose
  • Children over 6 years and up to 12 years of age - doctor will decide the dose

If your doctor has prescribed this medicine for regular use - be sure to keep up with your health appointments to ensure your body is responding properly. Be aware - incorrect doses or frequencies can cause unwanted effects.

DO NOT take sodium bicarbonate within 1 to 2 hours of taking other medicines. You want to make sure each medicine can treat the prescribed condition.

This medication contains a large amount of sodium - ask your doctor for a dietary and health condition guideline when taking it.

If you are taking it as an antacid - reduce the amount of milk or milk products while being treated. Milk may increase the side effects.

Missed Dose

Do your best not to miss a dose. If it happens, take your medicine as soon as possible. If your next dose is scheduled, skip the missed dose and continue taking your scheduled doses. DO NOT take a double dose.

Interactions

Interactions between other medicines, food supplements, herbal remedies, alcohol consumption and tobacco can change the effects. When individuals are treated for multiple health disorders, taking different medicines to support the illnesses is necessary. Your doctor may change the dose of one or both medicines to keep you healthy.

This is the main reason you need to share your health information with the doctor, including prescriptions and nonprescription, along with your diet and lifestyle routines. DO NOT take it upon yourself to alter the schedules or change the dosage for any of the medications you are taking now.

If you are taking any of these medications, talk to your doctor. Sodium bicarbonate may decrease the effectiveness of other medicines requiring stomach acid as part of its therapy.

  • Ampicillin
  • Antifungals
  • Iron supplements

These products are known to have high reactions to sodium bicarbonate.

  • Aspirin
  • Corticosteroids
  • Medications used to coat the stomach

Sometimes, your doctor will have a solution for keeping your medicines in place. For any reason, should you experience discomfort at any level, contact your doctor.

These drugs all have some level of reaction with sodium bicarbonate - it's in your best interest to learn what works best for your health and what medicines may increase the risks. Ask your doctor to explain why these drugs are dangerous and what you can do to protect your health.

  • Amphetamine
  • Benzphetamine
  • Dextroamphetamine
  • Digoxin
  • Elvitegravir
  • Gefitinib
  • Ketoconazole
  • Ledipasvir
  • Lisdexamfetamine
  • Mefenamic Acid
  • Memantine
  • Methamphetamine
  • Pazopanib

Take a few minutes to study the names. When medicines share similar names, they also share similar ingredients. Some are active and capable of increasing the side effects or causing other disorders. Non-active ingredients can set off allergies - in some cases, an allergic reaction can be life-threatening.

Existing Health Conditions

Each of us has more than one health condition being treated or under observation. When our doctors prescribe new medicines, they need to know about our experiences and current disorders. The more they know, the better you will feel. If you have been treated or are currently being treated for any of these ailments - let your doctor know before starting any form of medical treatment.

Warnings

The U.S. Food and Administration (FDA) post information for patients and health professionals on drugs and safety guidelines to protect your health. The goal is to prevent public health hazards, intention or unintentional from occurring. This information becomes a vital factor in making decisions for good health.

Only one form of sodium bicarbonate has been cited with warnings. The injection form is used to raise the pH of acid solutions being administered intravenously. If you are being treated with the form of medicine, talk with your doctor to make sure you understand the risks associated with the treatment.

Precautions for using this form of medicine are linked to the condition, duration, and age.

  • Your doctor will schedule regular lab work for monitoring blood.
  • Take the injections for the exact duration prescribed by your doctor.
  • If you are 65 or older - use this medicine with caution. You may experience severe side effects.

Age Groups

Pediatric

This medicine should not be administered to children under the age of 6 without a doctor's observation. The medicine may not ease or cure the condition. The reason for failing to respond to the medicine could be an illness not related to this medicine's purpose.

Geriatric

This age group is more sensitive to prescription and non-prescription medications, due to the body's natural response to aging. When treating older patients with this medicine, they react differently compared to the younger aged adult groups. They may need more frequent office visits to monitor the response to treatment. Although there is no specific information to suggest against this medicine for this age group - precautions are recommended.

Health Precautions

Pregnancy

If you are pregnant, planning or become pregnant during treatment - talk to your doctor. The information posted about sodium bicarbonate shows no adverse effect. However, there are risks associated with the injector form of this medicine.

Studies show minimal risks to the infant when breastfeeding. Precautions are still suggested. Talk with your doctor if you are planning to breastfeed. You need to understand the potential health risk to your infant.

Edema is prevalent during pregnancy; pregnant women should not take sodium bicarbonate.

Allergies

Allergic reactions have been noted with this medicine. It's rare, but some individuals experience hives, coughing, chest tightness or fever and seizures. If you experience any of these reactions - consider it an emergency - contact your doctor or call for help.

Other Health Disorders

This medicine is approved to treat metabolic acidosis, but it could be harmful to lactic acidosis, severe cardiac dysfunction or diabetic ketoacidosis patients.

Storage

Store this medicine in a dry location, away from direct light, moisture or heat. Keep this medicine out of the reach of children and pets.

Be sure to discard unused portions or outdated medicines no longer needed.

Summary

Sodium bicarbonate is successful in treating several stomach disorders associated with the body's production of excessive acid. As an antacid, it works quickly and lower doses are available without a prescription, solving an uncomfortable situation. But the real source may be a more serious underlying condition that needs medical attention. It's a decision you and your doctor need to make.

 

Resources
Last Reviewed:
February 01, 2018
Last Updated:
April 05, 2018