Sodium Hydroxide


💊 Chemical information

Ätznatron; Caustic Soda; E524; Hidróxido de sodio; Hydroxid sodný; Natrii hydroxidum; Natrio hidroksidas; Natrium Hydricum; Natrium Hydroxydatum; Nátrium-hidroxid; Natriumhydroksidi; Natriumhydroxid; Soda Lye; Sodium, hydroxyde de; Sodu wodorotlenek; Sosa cáustica.
NaOH = 40.00.
CAS — 1310-73-2.


In Chin., Eur., Int., and Jpn. Also in USNF.

Ph. Eur. 6.2

(Sodium Hydroxide). White or almost white, crystalline masses supplied as pellets, sticks, or slabs. It is deliquescent and readily absorbs carbon dioxide. Very soluble in water; freely soluble in alcohol. A 0.01% solution in water has a pH of not less than 11.0. Store in airtight, nonmetallic containers.


(Sodium Hydroxide). White or practically white fused masses, small pellets, flakes, sticks, or other forms. It is hard and brittle and shows a crystalline fracture. When exposed to air it rapidly absorbs moisture and carbon dioxide. Soluble 1 in 1 of water; freely soluble in alcohol. Store in airtight containers.

💊 Adverse Effects

Sodium hydroxide is strongly alkaline and corrosive, and rapidly destroys organic tissues. The ingestion of caustic alkalis causes immediate burning pain in the mouth, throat, substernal region, and epigastrium, and the lining membranes become swollen and detached. There is dysphagia, hypersalivation, vomiting with the vomitus becoming blood-stained, diarrhoea, and shock. In severe cases, abdominal pain, asphyxia due to oedema of the glottis, circulatory failure, oesophageal or gastric perforation, peritonitis, or pneumonia may occur. Stricture of the oesophagus can develop weeks or months later. Caustic alkalis on contact with the skin can produce full thickness burns leading to extensive damage. Alkali burns to the eyes cause conjunctival oedema and corneal destruction; damage may be irreversible.

💊 Treatment of Adverse Effects

Ingestion should not be treated by lavage or emesis. Dilution with water or milk is generally considered controversial for management of corrosive ingestion. However, early dilution therapy of alkalis may reduce oesophageal injury; large volumes of fluid should be avoided. Neutralisation of alkalis is contra-indicated. The airway should be maintained and shock and pain alleviated. In cases of skin contamination, clothing should be removed immediately and the skin flooded with copious amounts of water for at least 15 minutes. Excision or skin grafting of burnt areas may be necessary in severe cases. Contaminated eyes should be irrigated thoroughly with water or 0.9% sodium chloride until the conjunctival sac pH is normal, which may require irrigation for up to an hour.

💊 Uses and Administration

Sodium hydroxide is a powerful caustic. A 2.5% solution in glycerol has been used as a cuticle solvent. An escharotic preparation of sodium hydroxide and calcium oxide was known as London paste. Sodium hydroxide is also used for adjusting the pH of solutions.


For reference to the possible use of sodium hydroxide for the disinfection of material contaminated by the agent causing Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

💊 Preparations

Proprietary Preparations

Multi-ingredient: Austria: Leberinfusion; Sulfo-Schwefelbad; Ger.: Glutarsin E†; Switz.: Saltrates†.
Published May 08, 2019.