What is the sodium content of medicines?

This Medicines Q&A provides lists of effervescent, soluble, dispersible and other preparations that could contain high levels of sodium, and so might be unsuitable for people with conditions associated with sodium retention (such as hypertension, heart failure or renal impairment) or who are on a salt-restricted diet. The lists include indigestion preparations, effervescent or soluble analgesics, cold and flu preparations, anti-diarrhoeal preparations, cystitis preparations, laxatives, bowel cleansing solutions and other miscellaneous soluble preparations.

  • Some medicines contain significant amounts of sodium, including many effervescent or soluble analgesics and several brands of alginates or other indigestion medicines.
  • At maximum daily doses of these preparations, the amount of sodium ingested may exceed the maximum recommended daily amount (approximately 100mmol sodium for adults).
  • Anybody who has a condition associated with sodium retention, such as hypertension, heart failure or renal impairment, or is following a salt-restricted diet, should avoid regular use of effervescent or soluble analgesics, indigestion remedies or other medicines containing high levels of sodium. Suitable alternative antacid preparations are listed as ‘low in sodium’ in the BNF and in the table of indigestion and anti-secretory preparations below. The amount of sodium in non-soluble analgesics is insignificant. Orodispersible preparations do not contain significant amounts of sodium.
Cardiovascular system disordersGastrointestinal disordersMedicineQ&ARenal and urologic disordersSodium bicarbonateSodium chloride

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