Sodium Bicarbonate

What is sodium bicarbonate?

Sodium bicarbonate is an antacid active ingredient available in over-the-counter (OTC) medicines that relieve heartburn, acid indigestion, and sour stomach. It can be found in heartburn medicines that contain other antacid active ingredients or in medicines that contain acid reducer active ingredients. It can also be found in medicines that treat other symptoms, such as headache, body aches, and body pains.

What is sodium bicarbonate used to treat?

  • Heartburn
  • Acid indigestion
  • Sour stomach
Common brands containing sodium bicarbonate:
  • Alka-Seltzer®
  • Zegerid OTC®
  • Store Brands (ex. Walmart’s “Equate” store brand or CVS Health store brand)

How much sodium bicarbonate can you take?

Different types of products containing this active ingredient have different strengths. That’s why it is always important to read and follow the Drug Facts label. Most medicines warn against use of an active ingredient for longer than 7-10 days. Stop use and ask a doctor if symptoms persist.

Safety guide for sodium bicarbonate

Sodium bicarbonate is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is safe and effective when used according to the Drug Facts label.

Ask a healthcare provider before use if:

  • You have kidney disease.
  • You are on a sodium-restricted diet.
  • You are taking a prescription medicine. Antacid active ingredients may interact with certain drugs.
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Talk to a healthcare provider before giving an OTC containing sodium bicarbonate to a child under the age of 12.

Stop use and ask a doctor if:

  • Your symptoms last more than two weeks.
  • You take too much. Immediately contact a healthcare provider or the poison control national helpline at 800.222.1222.

What are the side effects of sodium bicarbonate?

  • Increased thirst
  • Stomach cramps
  • Gas