sodium citrate and citric acid


sodium citrate and citric acid

soe-dee-um sye-trate and sit-rik as-id

Trade Name(s)

  • Bicitra
  • Oracit
  • Shohl's Solution modified

Ther. Class.
mineral and electrolyte replacements/supplements

Pharm. Class.
alkalinizing agents


  • Management of chronic metabolic acidosis associated with chronic renal insufficiency or renal tubular acidosis.
  • Alkalinization of urine.
  • Prevention of cystine and urate urinary calculi.
  • Prevention of aspiration pneumonitis during surgical procedures.
  • Used as a neutralizing buffer.


  • Converted to bicarbonate in the body, resulting in increased blood pH.
  • As bicarbonate is renally excreted, urine is also alkalinized, increasing the solubility of cystine and uric acid.
  • Neutralizes gastric acid.

Therapeutic Effect(s):

  • Provision of bicarbonate in metabolic acidosis.
  • Alkalinization of the urine.
  • Prevention of cystine and urate urinary calculi.
  • Prevention of aspiration pneumonitis.


Absorption: Well absorbed following oral administration.

Distribution: Rapidly and widely distributed.

Metabolism and Excretion: Rapidly oxidized to bicarbonate, which is excreted primarily by the kidneys. Small amounts (<5%) excreted unchanged by the lungs.

Half-life: Unknown.

TIME/ACTION PROFILE (effects on serum pH)

POrapid (min–hr)unknown4–6 hr


Contraindicated in:

  • Severe renal impairment;
  • Severe sodium restriction;
  • HF, untreated hypertension, edema, or toxemia of pregnancy.

Use Cautiously in:

OB:  Lactation: Safety not established

Adverse Reactions/Side Effects

F and E: fluid overload, hypernatremia (severe renal impairment), hypocalcemia, metabolic alkalosis (large doses only)

GI: diarrhea

MS: tetany

* CAPITALS indicate life-threatening.
Underline indicate most frequent.



  • May partially antagonize the effects of  antihypertensives.
  • Urinary alkalinization may result in ↓  salicylate  or  barbiturate  levels or ↑ levels of quinidine, flecainide, or  amphetamines.


Adjust dosage according to urine pH. Contains 1 mEq sodium and 1 mEq bicarbonate/mL solution


PO (Adults): 10–30 mL solution diluted in water 4 times daily.

PO Children: 5–15 mL solution diluted in water 4 times daily.


PO (Adults): 10–30 mL solution diluted in water 4 times daily.

Neutralizing Buffer

PO (Adults): 15–30 mL solution diluted in 15–30 mL of water.


Oral solution: sodium citrate 490 mg and citric acid 640 mg/5 mL, sodium citrate 500 mg and citric acid 300 mg/5 mL, sodium citrate 500 mg and citric acid 334 mg/5 mL


  • Assess patient for signs of alkalosis (confusion, irritability, paresthesia, tetany, altered breathing pattern) or hypernatremia (edema, weight gain, hypertension, tachycardia, fever, flushed skin, mental irritability) throughout therapy.
  • Monitor patients with renal dysfunction for fluid overload (discrepancy in intake and output, weight gain, edema, rales/crackles, and hypertension).

Lab Test Considerations: Prior to and every 4 mo during chronic therapy, monitor hematocrit, hemoglobin, electrolytes, pH, creatinine, urinalysis, and 24-hr urine for citrate.

  • Monitor urine pH if used to alkalinize urine.

Potential Diagnoses


  • PO Solution is more palatable if chilled. Administer with 30–90 mL of chilled water. Administer 30 min after meals or as bedtime snack to minimize saline laxative effect.
    • When used as preanesthetic, administer 15–30 mL of sodium citrate with 15–30 mL of chilled water.

Patient/Family Teaching

  • Instruct patient to take as directed. Missed doses should be taken within 2 hr. Do not double doses.
  • Instruct patients receiving chronic sodium citrate on correct method of monitoring urine pH, maintenance of alkaline urine, and the need to increase fluid intake to 3000 mL/day. When treatment is discontinued, pH begins to fall toward pretreatment levels.
  • Advise patients receiving long-term therapy on need to avoid salty foods.

Evaluation/Desired Outcomes

  • Correction of metabolic acidosis.
  • Maintenance of alkaline urine with resulting decreased stone formation.
  • Buffering the pH of gastric secretions, thereby preventing aspiration pneumonitis associated with intubation and anesthesia.

sodium citrate and citric acidis the Nursing Central Word of the day!