Intravenous sodium bicarbonate
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Intravenous sodium bicarbonate (trade names including Baros) is a solution for intravenous administration that increases plasma bicarbonate, buffers excess hydrogen ion concentration, raises blood pH and reverses the clinical manifestations of acidosis.
Mechanism of action
After injection, intravenous sodium bicarbonate dissociates to provide sodium (Na+) and bicarbonate (HCO3−) anions. Bicarbonate anions can consume hydrogen ions (H+) and thereby be converted to carbonic acid (H2CO3), which can subsequently be converted to water (H2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2) which can be excreted by the lungs.
Intravenous sodium bicarbonate is indicated in the treatment of metabolic acidosis, such as can occur in, for example, severe renal disease, diabetic ketoacidosis, circulatory insufficiency, extracorporeal circulation of blood, in hemolysis requiring alkalinization of the urine to avoid nephrotoxicity of blood pigments, and certain drug intoxications, such as by barbiturate overdose, salicylate poisoning, tricyclic antidepressant overdose or methanol poisoning. In addition, sodium bicarbonate is indicated in severe diarrhea, where large amounts of bicarbonate may be lost. However, overall treatment should also strive to treat the underlying cause of the acidosis, such as giving insulin in case of diabetic ketoacidosis.
Because of its sodium content, intravenous sodium bicarbonate should be used with great care, if at all, in patients with congestive heart failure and severe renal insufficiency, where low sodium intake is strongly indicated to prevent sodium retention. By similar rationale, intravenous sodium bicarbonate should be given with caution to patients receiving corticosteroids.
Overdose of intravenous sodium bicarbonate results in solute and/or fluid overload, potentially leading to edema, including pulmonary edema. Also, it can cause metabolic alkalosis (with signs including muscular twitchings, irritability and tetany). Hypernatremia is also possible. Repeated fractional doses and frequent monitoring by laboratory tests are recommended to minimize the possibility of overdosing.
Rapid administration (equal to or exceeding 10 mL/min) of intravenous sodium bicarbonate into neonates and children under two years of age may produce hypernatremia, resulting in a decrease in cerebrospinal fluid pressure and, possibly, intracranial hemorrhage. Therefore, the rate of administration to such patients should not exceed 8 mEq/kg/day, unless a very strong indication is present.
Norepinephrine and dobutamine cannot be used as additives in an intravenous sodium bicarbonate solution.
Other adverse reactions
Extravasation of intravenous sodium bicarbonate has been reported to cause chemical cellulitis because of its alkalinity, resulting in tissue necrosis, ulceration and/or sloughing at the site of infiltration. This condition is managed by prompt elevation of the part, warmth and local injection of lidocaine or hyaluronidase.
- Sodium Bicarbonate, Dosage Form: injection, solution from Drugs.com. Revised: 03/2011 by General Injectables & Vaccines, Inc.
- Intravenous sodium bicarbonate at Drugs.com, with more detailed dosages