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Sodium citrate for cystitis

CanesOasis, Cymalon, Cystocalm

If you are pregnant or have a medical condition, you should always see a doctor if you think you have cystitis.

Follow the dosage instructions on the label of the pack. If your symptoms do not improve within two days of taking sodium citrate, you should make an appointment to see your doctor for further advice.

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About sodium citrate for cystitis

Type of medicine

An alkalinising agent

Used for

Mild urinary tract infections such as cystitis

Also called

CanesOasis®; Cymalon®; Cystitis Relief®; Cystocalm®

Available as

Sachets 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. Your urine may also become cloudy and smelly. 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 as your own immune system can often clear the infection.

Preparations containing sodium citrate are sometimes recommended for the treatment of mild cystitis. They can help to relieve the discomfort, although there is no strong evidence of benefit. They work by making the urine less acidic. They can be bought without a prescription at pharmacies and other retail outlets.

Note: if you are pregnant, male or have a medical condition, you should always see a doctor if you think you have cystitis because you may need to be treated with antibiotics.

Before taking sodium citrate for cystitis

To make sure that this is the right treatment for you, before you start taking sodium citrate it is important that you speak with a doctor or pharmacist:

  • If you are pregnant.

  • If you have a problem with the way your kidneys work.

  • If you have a heart condition, or any other serious medical condition.

  • If you are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, as well as herbal and complementary medicines.

  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.

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How to take sodium citrate

  • Before you start the treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about the sachets you have been given and how to take them.

  • 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.

Getting the most from your treatment

  • If your symptoms do not improve within two days of taking sodium citrate, or if you develop a high temperature, you should contact your doctor.

  • You might find it helpful to ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller. Paracetamol or ibuprofen can 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 is often sufficient.

  • If your symptoms recur within two weeks, you should make an appointment to see your doctor for further advice.

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Can this preparation cause problems?

Recommended doses of sodium citrate are unlikely to cause any side-effects other than making you want to pass a little more urine than normal. If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to the medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.

How to store sodium citrate

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.

  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.

Important information about all medicines

Important information about all medicines

Never take more than the recommended dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of the medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.

If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.

Do not 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.

Report side effects to a medicine or vaccine

If you experience side effects, you can report them online through the Yellow Card website.

Further reading and references

  • Manufacturer's PIL, Boots Cystitis Relief (Cranberry), The Boots Company PLC, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated November 2015.
  • Medicines Complete BNF 87th Edition; British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London.

Article history

The information on this page is written and peer reviewed by qualified clinicians.

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