Sodium Bicarbonate


Sodium bicarbonate also is known as baking soda.


Sodium bicarbonate is used to treat or prevent excess acid in the blood or urine, a condition affecting some children who have had a liver transplant. It also can reduce stomach acids, and therefore can be used as an antacid to treat heartburn or indigestion.

Types Available

Sodium bicarbonate can be injected or taken by mouth. It is available as a solution for injection, in powder form, or as tablets.

How to Take

Sodium bicarbonate can be taken with or without food. People who are using this medication should avoid large amounts of dairy products, which can increase the chance of experiencing side effects.

Missed Doses

If your child misses a dose, it should be taken as soon as you or your child remembers. If you remember within two hours of the next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and resume your child’s usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.

Side Effects

Gas, bloating, and stomach cramps sometimes occur with sodium bicarbonate. Some people report headaches or nausea, and may feel irritable.

Rare side effects include:

  • muscle rigidity
  • weakness
  • vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • slow reflexes
  • confusion
  • nervousness
  • swelling of the feet or ankles
  • increased thirst or urge to urinate

If your child has trouble with any of these side effects, inform your transplant doctor or transplant coordinator.

Drug Interactions

Tell your doctor or pharmacist about any prescription or over-the-counter medication your child is taking, so you can be warned of undesirable interactions and prevent them.


Do not take sodium bicarbonate within two hours of taking tacrolimus (Prograf, FK506®). Watch your child’s salt intake, since this medication has high sodium content.

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Learn more about other Liver Transplant Drugs.