Sodium Phenylacetate and Benzoate (Intravenous)

Sodium Phenylacetate and Benzoate is prescribed in injection form and works by reducing the amount of ammonia in a patient's blood.


Sodium Phenylacetate and Benzoate is a drug used to treat patients who have too high levels of ammonia in the blood. This excess ammonia is caused by the breakdown of protein in your body, and hyperammonemia, as it is known, can cause serious health effects if untreated. Sodium Phenylacetate and Benzoate works by reducing the level of ammonia in the blood.

Sodium Phenylacetate and Benzoate is provided in a solution form which must be injected. It is prescribed on a regular basis by a trained nurse, and can only be received via a prescription. Do not attempt to take Sodium Phenylacetate and Benzoate yourself, instead, it should only be used in a supervised environment and be prescribed by a trained doctor.

The use of Sodium Phenylacetate and Benzoate can be extremely effective, though it can also lead to a large range of possible side effects, and is also known to interact with a range of other drugs and elements of a person's diet.

Condition(s) Treated

  • Hyperammonemia

Type of medicine

  • Solution for injection

Side Effects

As with taking any drug, there are a number of side effects that can potentially occur whilst undergoing a treatment of Sodium Phenylacetate and Benzoate.

The following is a list of potential side effects which, if you do experience, you must contact your doctor immediately:

  • Decreased ability to urinate
  • Increased need to urinate
  • Unnecessary fatigue
  • Vision becomes blurred
  • Stomach or abdominal cramps or pains
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased hunger
  • Dry, flushed skin
  • You have dry mouth
  • Breath odor that smells like fruit
  • Your heartbeat is irregular
  • You lose your appetite
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Cramps or pains in your muscles
  • Out of character weakness or tiredness
  • Seizures
  • Weight loss you cannot explain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Breath being short
  • Tingling sensation or numbness in lips, feet or hands
  • Unnecessary sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Becoming agitated
  • Oozing or bleeding from puncture site or from your nose or mouth (which you are unable to stop)
  • Depression
  • Seeing, feeling or hearing things which are not present
  • Cloudy or bloody urine
  • Itching, lumps, pain, coldness, feeling of pressure, blistering, bleeding, stinging, tingling, redness, burning, discoloration around the skin, hives, tenderness, infection, scarring, warmth, ulceration, inflammation or numbness at the site of injection.
  • Muscle tremors
  • Unexpected lightheadedness
  • Mental or mood changes
  • Black, tarry, or bloody stools
  • Confusion
  • Faintness, lightheadedness or dizziness when suddenly rising from sitting or lying down
  • Depression
  • Producing a pink frothy sputum when coughing
  • Deep, rapid breathing
  • Headaches
  • Rashes on your skin
  • Feeling of having others watching or controlling you
  • Unusually vivid dreams or nightmares
  • Difficulty breathing when walking or moving
  • Skin becoming pale
  • Feelings of restlessness
  • Unusual drowsiness or sleepiness
  • Unexpected bruising or bleeding.

As well as the aforementioned side effects, there are others which could occur which aren't as serious. If they aren't overly bothersome, then you may find they pass as your treatment continues. However, if any of the below are bothering you, then do also contact your doctor. They may be able to alleviate them or possibly reduce your dosage.

There may be other side effects as a result of taking Sodium Phenylacetate and Benzoate, if they are worrying you then do contact your doctor immediately.


The exact dosage of Sodium Phenylacetate and Benzoate that you receive will vary greatly depending on a number of different factors. Such factors include your age, gender, height, weight, dietary intake and medical condition. The dosage will be administered via injection into one of your arms and must be performed by a trained doctor or nurse.

You will be treated with a few dosages of Sodium Phenylacetate and Benzoate via injection until signs of improvement begin to show. At such a time, it is usual to be switched to an oral administration of the drug. It is important that you do not miss any scheduled injections, and that you also follow any other dietary advice your doctor prescribes. This often includes maintaining a low protein diet.


Sodium Phenylacetate and Benzoate is known to be affected by the following medical conditions:

If you suffer from any of them, then you should properly inform your doctor before beginning treatment.

There are a number of drugs which are known to possibly react to Sodium Phenylacetate and Benzoate. For this reason, properly disclose any other forms of medication which you currently take. It may be that your doctor will ask you to stop one or the other, or possibly reduce your dosage to avoid any unpleasant interactions. Alternatively, it may be best to let such interactions occur if they will not be harmful in any way.

This list of interacting drugs includes:

  • Stavzor (valproic acid)
  • Benemid (probenecid)
  • Valproate Sodium (valproic acid)
  • Probenecid and Colchicine (colchicine/probenecid)
  • Depacon (valproic acid)
  • Valproic acid
  • Depakene (valproic acid)
  • Ampicillin/probenecid
  • Divalproex sodium
  • Depakote (divalproex sodium)
  • Colchicine/probenecid
  • Depakote Sprinkles (divalproex sodium)
  • Proben-C (colchicine/probenecid)
  • Depakote ER (divalproex sodium)
  • Probenecid

The same goes for certain foods, drinks and quantities of tobacco which you consume within your diet. Your doctor is best placed to understand any such interactions, and the possible effects must be weighed against other factors such as your age and weight.


Be sure you to make your doctor fully aware of any allergies you have to foods, medicines, animals, or preservatives. There is an extensive array of potential interactions that could occur between Sodium Phenylacetate and Benzoate and these things, and your doctor will need to examine your personal condition before prescribing it.

As of yet, there have not been any studies which have demonstrated that Sodium Phenylacetate and Benzoate is not suitable for use by pediatric patients. However, the prescription of Sodium Phenylacetate and Benzoate to pediatric patients must be performed on a case-by-case basis.

Again, there hasn't yet been any studies performed which highlight significant risks to geriatric patients of taking Sodium Phenylacetate and Benzoate. However, elderly patients are more likely to have heart, liver, or kidney problems. Such conditions are not well-suited to be mixed with Sodium Phenylacetate and Benzoate, so each geriatric patient must be suitably examined beforehand by a medical professional.

There are no adequate studies conducted amongst pregnant women to suggest Sodium Phenylacetate and Benzoate is safe. Be sure to make your doctor fully aware if you are pregnant, or if you become pregnant whilst undergoing a course of Sodium Phenylacetate and Benzoate. The same goes for breastfeeding women, and any risks will need to be weighed by yourself and your doctor.

There is the possibility that unwanted effects show whilst being administered this treatment, so you should regularly meet with your doctor and carry out any necessary blood tests. Failure to meet all appointments could be harmful and could greatly reduce the effectiveness of the treatment. Be sure to read fully the list of possible side effects and contact a doctor if you, or your child, experience any whilst undergoing a treatment of Sodium Phenylacetate and Benzoate.


Whilst receiving the injection form of Sodium Phenylacetate and Benzoate, you will not be required to personally store or administer the drug. Instead, all such issues will be managed by the doctor or nurse responsible for your injections.


If you or your child suffer from anemia, then a course of Sodium Phenylacetate and Benzoate is often the first stage in helping to reduce the anemia levels in your blood. If you maintain all appointments and follow any other dietary advice from your doctor, it is often a very successful means of starting the process of recovery. At which time, you will be able to start taking Sodium Phenylacetate and Benzoate via oral prescription.

However, depending on a number of personal medical conditions and your own circumstances, the dosage and effectiveness of Sodium Phenylacetate and Benzoate may differ. For this reason, you should never attempt to acquire or self-administer Sodium Phenylacetate and Benzoate. It is known to react with a number of different drugs and is not suitable for patients who have other health conditions. Instead, you should first properly discuss your situation with your doctor who will be able to put you on the most suitable form of treatment.

Outside of any hospital appointments, be sure to keep an eye on your condition and monitor any alternate side effects that may occur, or any worrying alterations in your physical well being. If you do experience any unpleasant side effects then do make your doctor aware immediately. Similarly, if you become pregnant throughout your treatment of Sodium Phenylacetate and Benzoate then let your doctor know. They may need to stop or restrict your intake of Sodium Phenylacetate and Benzoate.

Last Reviewed:
January 30, 2018
Last Updated:
April 05, 2018
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