Sodium Bicarbonate

18/Description

About

Sodium bicarbonate is a salt that breaks down to form sodium and bicarbonate in water. This breakdown makes a solution alkaline, meaning it is able to neutralize acid. Because of this, sodium bicarbonate is often used to treat conditions caused by high acidity in the body, such as heartburn.

People take sodium bicarbonate by mouth for bowel cleansing, poor kidney function, indigestion, exercise performance, high potassium in the blood, reviving newborns, stomach ulcers, and urinary stones.

People apply sodium bicarbonate to the skin for chemical burns, dental plaque, earwax removal, eczema, insect bites or stings, infertility, inflammation in the mucous membranes lining the digestive tract, poison oak and poison ivy, itchy skin (pruritus), and scaly, itchy skin (psoriasis).

Sodium bicarbonate is injected intravenously (by IV) for heart resuscitation, poor kidney function, cocaine toxicity, to prevent kidney damage caused by dyes used during some X-ray exams, poisoning from certain allergy medications, reviving newborns, pesticide poisoning, prevention of chemotherapy side effects, breakdown of muscles, and fluid build-up in the lungs caused by a certain chemical.

People also use sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda, as an ingredient in baking, and as an anticaking agent to stop particles sticking together.

How it works

Sodium bicarbonate is a salt that breaks down in fluids, including blood and urine, to form sodium and bicarbonate. This breakdown makes the fluid alkaline, meaning it is able to neutralize acid. This ability to neutralize acid helps treat conditions related to high acidity in bodily fluids, such as indigestion, which is caused by too much acid in the stomach.

Effectiveness

Possibly Effective
To prevent kidney damage caused by dyes used during some X-ray exams

Some research suggests that injecting sodium bicarbonate intravenously (by IV) before cardiac angiography, a test that uses dye to show the inside of the arteries, can reduce the risk of kidney damage. However, not all studies are consistent.

Exercise performance

Research suggests that taking sodium bicarbonate by mouth 1-2 hours before short-term, high-intensity exercise improves power during exercise in trained men. Other research shows that taking sodium bicarbonate by mouth or intravenously (by IV) up to 3 hours before short-term, high-intensity exercise improves performance. However, taking sodium bicarbonate does not appear to improve performance in females or non-athletes. Also, it does not appear to improve performance during exercises that last longer than 10 minutes.

Concerns

Likely safe

Sodium bicarbonate is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth appropriately in the short-term and when used intravenously (by IV) and appropriately with proper medical supervision. Over-the-counter antacid products containing sodium bicarbonate are considered safe and effective by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA suggests a maximum daily dosage of 200 mEq sodium and 200 mEq bicarbonate in people up to 60 years old , and maximum daily dosage of 100 mEq sodium and 100 mEq bicarbonate in people over 60 years old for up to 2 weeks

Possibly unsafe

Taking sodium bicarbonate by mouth in high doses is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Complications including stomach rupture and serious alterations in electrolyte levels have been reported following long-term or excessive use of sodium bicarbonate.There is not enough information available to know if sodium bicarbonate is safe when applied to the skin.

18/Warnings

Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Sodium bicarbonate isPOSSIBLY UNSAFEwhen taken by mouth or used intravenously (by IV) duringpregnancy. There is some concern that it might increase the risk ofwater retentionorpHimbalances in the tissues. There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking sodium bicarbonate if you arebreast feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Children: Sodium bicarbonate is POSSIBLY SAFE when used by IV under appropriate medical supervision in infants and children. Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when applied to the skin, as there have been reports of high sodium blood levels in children following use. There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking sodium bicarbonate by mouth in children. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Diabetic ketoacidosis: Sodium bicarbonate increases blood acids called ketones, which are associated with a diabetes complication in which blood acid levels are too high. People with this condition should avoid sodium bicarbonate.

Swelling (edema): Because sodium bicarbonate contains sodium, it can increase the risk of swelling caused by excess fluids in the body. People with heart failure, liver disease, or other conditions associated with fluid build-up should use sodium bicarbonate with caution.

High calcium levels in the blood: People with high calcium levels in the blood can have trouble excreting bicarbonate. Therefore, using sodium bicarbonate might increase the risk of complications such as milk-alkali syndrome.

High sodium levels in the blood: Sodium bicarbonate might increase sodium levels in the blood. People who already have high levels of sodium in the blood should avoid sodium bicarbonate.

High blood pressure: Sodium bicarbonate might increase blood pressure. People who already have high blood pressure should avoid sodium bicarbonate.

Low potassium levels in the blood: Sodium bicarbonate might lower potassium blood levels. People who already have low levels of potassium should avoid sodium bicarbonate.

Iron deficiency: Sodium bicarbonate decreases how much iron the body absorbs. People with iron deficiency should take sodium bicarbonate and iron supplements separately.

Interactions

Always consult with your doctor.
Moderate
Aminoglycosides

Taking sodium bicarbonate can decrease potassium levels in the body. Aminoglycosides can also decrease potassium in the body. In theory, taking sodium bicarbonate along with aminoglycosides might decrease potassium in the body too much. Potassium supplements might be necessary.Some aminoglycosides include amikacin (Amikin), gentamicin (Garamycin), kanamycin (Kantrex), streptomycin, and tobramycin (Nebcin).

Amphotericin-B (Abelcet, Amphotec, AmBisome, Amphocin, Fungizone)

Taking sodium bicarbonate can decrease potassium levels in the body. Amphotericin-B can also decrease potassium in the body. In theory, taking sodium bicarbonate along with amphotericin-B might decrease potassium in the body too much. Potassium supplements might be necessary.

Aspirin

Taking sodium bicarbonate intravenously might increase how quickly the body breaks down and excretes aspirin. This might lower the effects of aspirin. Aspirin and sodium bicarbonate should be taken separately.

Beta-2 Agonists

Taking sodium bicarbonate can decrease potassium levels in the body. Beta-2 agonists can also decrease potassium in the body. In theory, taking sodium bicarbonate along with beta-2 agonists might decrease potassium in the body too much. Potassium supplements might be necessary.Some aminoglycosides include albuterol (salbutamol, Proventil, Ventolin), bitolterol (Tornalate), isoetharine, levalbuterol (Xopenex), metaproterenol (Alupent), pirbuterol (Maxair), salmeterol (Serevent), and terbutaline (Brethine).

Cefpodoxime Proxetil

Taking sodium bicarbonate with the antibiotic cefpodoxime proxetil reduces the concentrations of cefodoxime proxetil in the body. This might reduce how well the antibiotic works.

Chlorpropamide (Diabinese)

Taking sodium bicarbonate with the antidiabetes drug chlorpropamide (Diabinese) increases how quickly the body gets rid of chlorpropamide (Diabinese). This might reduce how well the antidiabetes drug works.

Cisplatin (Platino-AQ)

Taking sodium bicarbonate can decrease potassium levels in the body. Cisplatin can also decrease potassium in the body. In theory, taking sodium bicarbonate along with cisplatin might decrease potassium in the body too much. Potassium supplements might be necessary.

Fluconazole (Diflucan)

Taking sodium bicarbonate can decrease potassium levels in the body. Fluconazole can also decrease potassium in the body. In theory, taking sodium bicarbonate along with fluconazole might decrease potassium in the body too much. Potassium supplements might be necessary.

Glucocorticoids

Taking sodium bicarbonate can decrease potassium levels in the body. Glucocorticoids can also decrease potassium in the body. It is most common with hydrocortisone (Cortef, Hydrocortone, Solu-Cortef), cortisone (Cortone), and fludrocortisone (Florinef), followed by prednisone (Deltasone) and prednisolone (Delta-Cortef). Glucocorticoids that might not decrease potassium as much are (Celestone), dexamethasone (Decadron), methylprednisolone (Medrol, Depo-Medrol, Solu-Medrol), and triamcinolone (Aristocort, Kenalog) (4425). In theory, taking sodium bicarbonate along with some glucocorticoids might decrease potassium in the body too much. Potassium supplements might be necessary.

Methylxanthines

Taking sodium bicarbonate can decrease potassium levels in the body. Methylxanthines can also decrease potassium in the body. In theory, taking sodium bicarbonate along with methylxanthines might decrease potassium in the body too much. Potassium supplements might be necessary.

Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed)

Taking sodium bicarbonate can decrease potassium levels in the body. Penicillins can also decrease potassium in the body. In theory, taking sodium bicarbonate along with some penicillins might decrease potassium in the body too much. Potassium supplements might be necessary.Penicillins that might decrease potassium include penicillin G sodium (Pfizerpen), mezlocillin (Mezlin), carbenicillin (Geocillin), ticarcillin (Ticar), and piperacillin (Pipracil).Taking sodium bicarbonate intravenously (by IV) might reduce how quickly the body breaks down pseudoephedrine. This might increase pseudoephedrine levels in the body and increase the risk of developing pseudoephedrine toxicity.

Water pills (Thiazide diuretics)

Taking sodium bicarbonate can decrease potassium levels in the body. Stimulant laxatives (e.g., in bowel-cleansing regimens), can also decrease potassium in the body. In theory, taking sodium bicarbonate along with stimulant laxatives might decrease potassium in the body too much. Potassium supplements might be necessary.Some stimulant laxatives include cascara (CitraMax Plus), senna (Senokot), bisacodyl (Dulcolax), and others.Taking sodium bicarbonate can decrease potassium levels in the body. "Water pills" can also decrease potassium in the body. Taking sodium bicarbonate along with "water pills" might decrease potassium in the body too much.Some "water pills" that can deplete potassium include bumentanide (Bumex), ethacrynic acid (Edecrin), furosemide (Lasix), torsemide (Demadex), and others.Taking sodium bicarbonate can decrease potassium levels in the body. "Water pills" can also decrease potassium in the body. Taking sodium bicarbonate along with "water pills" might decrease potassium in the body too much.Some "water pills" that can deplete potassium include chlorothiazide (Diuril), hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDIURIL, Esidrix, Microzide), indapamide (Lozol), methyclothiazide (Aquatensen), metolazone (Mykrox), and others.

The information provided on this page is for reference purposes and is not meant to be used as a medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with a medical professional.