Sodium bicarbonate and sodium citrate for cystitis

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  • This preparation is to help relieve the discomfort of cystitis.
  • If you are pregnant or have a medical condition, you should make an appointment to see your doctor.
Type of medicineAlkalinising agent
Used forMild urinary tract infections such as cystitis
Also calledCanesten® Oasis; Cymalon®; Cystitis Relief®; Cystocalm®
Available asSachets of powder

Cystitis means inflammation of the bladder. It is usually caused by a urine infection. Typical symptoms are pain when you pass urine, and passing urine more frequently. It is particularly common in women. A short course of antibiotics may be prescribed for you, although mild cases often improve on their own without the need for any treatment.

Preparations containing sodium bicarbonate and/or sodium citrate may help relieve the discomfort in mild cystitis. These medicines work by making your urine less acidic. They can be bought without a prescription at pharmacies and from other retail outlets.

Note: if you are pregnant or have certain other medical conditions, you should always be treated with antibiotics to prevent possible complications.

To make sure this is the right treatment for you, before you start taking this preparation it is important that your pharmacist knows:

  • If you are pregnant.
  • If you have kidney or liver problems.
  • If you have a heart condition.
  • If you are on a sodium-restricted (low-salt) diet.
  • If you are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
  • Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. The leaflet will give you more information about the specific brand you have been given, and how to take it.
  • Follow the dosage instructions on the label. It is usually recommended to take one sachet, three times a day for two days. Empty the contents of the sachet into a glassful of water, and stir it well before drinking.
  • If your symptoms worsen or if you develop a high temperature then you should see your doctor.
  • You might find it helpful to ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller. Paracetamol or an anti-inflammatory painkiller may also help to ease the pain and discomfort of cystitis.
  • Although it has been said that drinking lots of water may be helpful, there is little evidence for this. Some doctors feel that it does not help and drinking lots may just cause more (painful) toilet trips. You should follow the directions on the label for taking the sachets mixed into water, but other than this, drinking normal amounts of fluid should be sufficient.
  • If your symptoms continue for more than four days, or if they go and come back again within two weeks, you should make an appointment to see your doctor for further advice.

This medicine is unlikely to cause side-effects other than mild belching (wind) and a need to pass urine a little more frequently than usual.

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.

  • If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.
  • Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
  • This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
  • Never keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
  • If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

Further reading & references

  • British National Formulary; 63rd Edition (Mar 2012) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
  • Manufacturer's PIL, Cymalon®; Actavis UK Ltd, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated November 2011.

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.

Original Author:
Helen Allen
Current Version:
Peer Reviewer:
Dr Helen Huins
Document ID:
3637 (v23)
Last Checked:
Next Review:
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