Sodium Content of ED Antibiotics

Today’s pearl is about how much sodium is contained in each dose of the commonly used antibiotics in the emergency department.

Many of the antibiotics we use on a daily basis in the emergency department contain a surprisingly high sodium load that may be clinically significant for some patients.

Aside from sodium chloride and sodium bicarbonate, several commonly used ED medications, namely IV antibiotics, contain a significant amount of sodium. In patients with heart failure or other conditions requiring sodium restriction, judicious use should be considered. Highlighted in yellow are the ones we use most often in the ED.

AntibioticSodium Content
(mg per g)
Daily Sodium Content
Ampicillin712 g Q6H = 852
Ampicillin/sulbactam771 g Q6H = 460
3 g Q6H = 920
Metronidazole625500 mg Q8H =938
Moxifloxacin1,967400 mg Q24H = 787
Nafcillin582 g Q4H = 698
Piperacillin/tazobactam643.375 g Q6H = 768
4.5 g Q6H = 1,024


  • Available references all quote slightly differing sodium contents. Therefore, the daily totals are approximate, but within 100 mg of the various references.
  • To convert from mg to mEq or mmoL, divide by 23.


Author: Bryan D. Hayes, PharmD

Attending Pharmacist, Emergency Medicine and Toxicology, Massachusetts General Hospital; Assistant Professor of EM, Harvard Medical School

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: